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osef Andreas Jungmann 



A Manual of Catechetics 


A book of vital interest to readers of ( Handing on the Faith 9 


The outcome of many years of careful preparation this new catechism 
has been specially compiled with the object of preparing the young to lead 
a full Christian life in the midst of a de-Christianized world. Christo- 
centric in its conception it embraces both scripture and tradition in accord- 
ance with the schema outlined in the Papal Encyclical, Mystici Corporis 
Christi. Beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated, this book will be of 
interest not only to priests, catechists, and parents, but also to those 
working in seminaries and religious houses. 

With 464 pages; over 150 multicoloured illustrations; cloth-bound; jacket 
in two colours. 

"Certainly the most fully-prepared and fully-considered teaching-book 
yet written in the Catholic Church, ... Its object is to convey to modern 
children ... a living picture of the faith." The Tablet, London 

"The questions and answers in this German Catechism set a new high 
standard of practical common sense and scripture-soaked theology, which 
is bound to have an effect wherever the Church's duty of proclaiming 
the Good News is seriously and willingly accepted by clergy and people." 

Canon Drinkwater mBlackfriars, London 

Published in the United States by Herder and Herder, Inc. New York ($ 4.95). 
Distributed in Great Britain and Eire by Burns & Dates, Ltd., London (30s.). 

Father Jungmann, who is world famous 
for his work Missarum Sollemnia is not only 
an expert on liturgical history, but is Pro- 
fessor of Catechetics and Pastoral Science 
in the University of Innsbruck. In this book, 
which begins with an historical survey of 
religious education in the Church from the 
earliest times to the present, Father Jung- 
mann considers the many problems con- 
fronting teachers of Catholic doctrine to- 
day. For him the task of the catechist is not 
simply to imprint upon the minds of child- 
ren a great number of theoretical dogmas 
without paying any heed to their connection 
with one another or with practical living. 
Of far greater importance is the introduc- 
tion of children to the supernatural world 
in such a way that the momentous truths em- 
braced will contribute something to the evo- 
lution of ideals and virtues powerful enough 
to propel them along the way of Christian 
living. Much space, therefore, has been 
given to the discussion of catechetical meth- 
ods, both general and specialized, to be 
used with pupils of all ages. 
An indispensible addition to the book- 
shelves of priests, religious, seminarians, 
teachers and college librarians, this is an out- 
standing contribution to the task of find- 
ing a way of teaching die faith that is ap- 
propriate for the conditions of our time. 
Readers of ^4 Catholic Catechism will find 


A Manual of Catechetics 














© 1959 BY HERDER KG 




Abbreviations vii 

Preface ix 

Introduction xi 

I. The History of Catechesis 1 

1. The Age of Baptismal Catechesis — 2. Catechesis in the 
Middle Ages — 3. The Tridentine Reform — 4. School 
Catechesis — 5. Survey of the Present — 6. The Cateche- 
tical Movement in England — 7. The Beginnings of 
Reform in England 

II. The Catechist . 65 

III. The Child and Catechesis 79 

IV. The Task of the Catechist 92 

1. Teaching and Education — 2. Liturgy and the Spiritual 
Life — 3. Bible History — 4. The Catechism 

V. The Teaching Plan 152 

1. Principles for a Teaching Plan — 2. The Basic Cate- 
chism — 3. Concentration 

VI. General Method 174 

1 . Learning from Texts -— 2. Vitalizing the Method 
The "Learn by Doing" Principle — The Principle of Personal 
Experience — - Adaptation of the Method to the Subject Matter 


VII. Special Questions of Catechetical Method . 222 

1. Visual Aids — 2. Catechetical Language — 3. Christian 
Doctrine and the Child's Intellectual Capacity — 4. Faith 
and its Basis — 5. Formation of Conscience and Moral 
Sense — 6. Prayer and Training in Prayer — 7. Homework 
and the Work Book — 8. Memorizing — 9. The Pastoral 
Hour for Children — 10. Conditions for Successful Cate- 
chesis Discipline 

VIII. Special Tasks Proper to Various Age-Levels . 284 

1 . The Religious Guidance of Small Children — 2. The Age 
for First Communion — 3. First Confession — 4. First 
Communion — 5. Introduction to Holy Mass — 6. Con- 
firmation — 7. Training in Chastity ■ — 8. Leaving School 
— 9. Learning a Trade — 10. Secondary Schools 

Appendices 377 

1 . The Apostles' Creed — 2. The Kerygma in the History of 
the Pastoral Activity of the Church — 3. Kerygmatic 
Theology — 4. Catechesis in England 

Index of Persons 410 

Index of Subjects 424 


by Johannes Hofmger, S. J. 

University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame 

2nd printing, 1958 $ 3.95 

Father Johannes Hofinger, S. J., is the most 
famous among the disciples of Father Jung- 
mann in the field of modern catechetics, and 
the book now being reprinted is complement- 
ary to Father Jungmann's "Handing on the 
Faith" in such a way that the two form an 
integral whole. 

While "Handing on the Faith" discusses 
the main principles underlying catechetical 

method, "The Art of Teaching Christian 
Doctrine" is primarily concerned with content, 
giving a thorough exposition of the Christian 
message itself and applying modern cateche- 
tical method to the concrete presentation of 
the Good News. 

The book also discusses in detail the difficult 
question of better adapted formation of cate- 
chists, whether lay teachers, Sisters, Brothers 
or priests. In this it reflects the comprehensive 
firsthand knowledge of the catechetical situa- 
tion in the U.S.A. which the author acquired 
in the course of hundreds of lectures given in 
all parts of the country during the last five 
years, and particularly through his kerygmatic 
courses at the University of Notre Dame. 

Made and printed in Germany 


















Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 

Christlich-Padagogische Blatter (Wien) 

Katechetische Blatter (Miinchen) 

Lexikonfiir Theologie und Kirche 

Patrologia Graeca 

Patrologia Latina 

Religion und Weltanschauung 

Zeitschrift ftir katholische Theologie (Innsbruck) 

L. Bopp, Katechetik. Geist und Form des katholischen 

Religionsunterrichts (Handbuch der Erziehungswissen- 

schaft IV, 1), Miinchen, 1935. 

Fr. X. Eggersdorfer, Jugendbildung. Allgemeine 

Theorie des Schulunterrichtes, 4th ed. (Handbuch der 

Erziehungswissenschaft I, 3), Miinchen, 1933. 

M. Gatterer, S.J., Katechetik oder Anleitung zur 

Kinder seelsorge, 4th ed. ; Innsbruck, 1931. 

A. Heuser und J. Solzbacher, Katholischer Reli- 

gionsuntcrricht } Hannover, 1949. 

J. B. Hirscher, Katechetik oder der Beruf des Seel- 

sorgers, die ihm anvertraute Jugend im Christentum zu 

unterrichten und zu erziehen, 3rd ed. ; Tubingen, 


J. Hofinger, S.J., Geschichte des Katechismus in 

Osterreich von Canisius bis zur Gegenwart. Mit be- 

sonderer Beriicksichtigung der gleichzeitigen gesatnt- 

deutschen Katechismusgeschichte, Innsbruck, 1937. 

L. Lentner, Religionsunterricht zwischen Methode 

undfreier Gestaltung. Die elementare religiose Unter- 

weisung in Frankreich (Veroffentlichungen des erz- 
bisch. Amtes £ Unterricht u. Erziehung, Wien, 
Vol. I), Innsbruck, 1953. 

Mayer Heinrich Mayer, Katechetik. Theorie des Religions- 

unterrichtes fur Volks-, Forthildungs- und hohere 
Schulen, 3rd ed. ; Freiburg, 1939. 

Pfliegler M. Pfliegler, Der Religionsunterricht. Seine Besin- 

nung auf die psychologischen, padagogischen und 
didaktischen Erkenntnisse seit der Bildungslehre Otto 
Willmanns, 3 vols., Innsbruck, 1935. 

Proceedings Proceedings of the National Catechetical Congress of 
the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (Paterson, 
N.J.). The tenth Congress was held in Buffalo, 
September 1956; the first in Rochester 1935. 

Raab K. Raab, Das Katechismusproblem in der katholischen 

Kirche, Freiburg, 1934. 



This book is the result of lectures which, as the successor 
to Father Michael Gatterer, S.J., I gave at the University of 
Innsbruck from 1934 onward. The influence of his "Katechetik" 
which appeared in four different editions (the last in 1931) can 
still be recognized in certain sections of the book; his pastoral 
views and his pastoral principles should continue to serve as 
guides for the future. 

I have tried, however, to bear in mind the problems raised 
and advances made in recent years and to incorporate them into 
a unified concept of my theme which would be adequate to the 
task of proclaiming the faith to a modern generation. The 
methodological formulation of various problems could not be 
passed over lightly. It is now possible to sift and evaluate — in 
the calm which the passage of time brings with it — what 
former decades have achieved at such great expense of labour 
and time. In this I think I am justified in dispensing, for the sake 
of greater simplicity and clarity, with the technical terminology 
which, in Germany, in the last phase of the movement towards 
a more suitable methodology, has often been borrowed from 
the philosophy and pedagogy of value. 

More important to me, however, than methodological 
considerations was the task of increasing and clarifying the 
awareness of the mission with which the catechist is entrusted. 
Our age is filled with so much noise and is so pre-occupied with 
material things that voices from a higher world can hardly be 
heard, and it is not at all easy to convey the word of God 
effectively to children, although it is the "good news" which 
we are proclaiming. Religious knowledge without order will 

soon lose its hold. Only concentration on the most important 
points and greater awareness of life's problems can help us to 
fulfill our task. The emphasis has therefore deliberately been 
placed on essentials. 

In addition to theoretical insight, practical experience is as 
indispensable for catechesis as it is for the catechist. Since the 
days of my own active and intensive pastoral work lie in the 
rather distant past (although they found some continuation 
from time to time), I have endeavoured all the more to remain in 
close contact with the experiences of others, particularly through 
reports of the various changing situations published in cate- 
chetical magazines. On the other hand, I have quoted only a 
few examples of the text-books which are now beginning to 
appear again; I did not intend to give a complete list. 

I hope then that I have not remained a stranger to the prob- 
lems facing the catechist today. May he who once so lovingly 
blessed the children gathered about him, bless this work also! 

April 27th, 1953 Josef Andreas Jungmann 

Innsbruck, on the Feast of St. Peter Canisius, 
Doctor of the Church 


Catechesis and preaching are the two chief ways in which the 
Church exercises her teaching office. Whereas the sermon is li- 
mited to certain definite occasions, takes up and evaluates certain 
definite points of doctrine, and through them seeks to keep 
alive and to develop Christian life, catechesis furnishes a basic 
introduction to the whole of Christian doctrine. Today in most 
Christian countries catechesis is concerned with the younger 
generation who, as infants, were adopted into the kingdom of 
grace by baptism. After their mental faculties have awakened 
and before the children go into the wider life of the world, it 
attempts to familiarize them with the doctrines of their faith 
and to show them the way of salvation. 

From this it is evident that catechesis is one of the most 
rewarding tasks of pastoral work, and this for several reasons : 
firstly, because by it is made possible the teaching of the glad 
tidings of the Gospel as a whole, with all the power and beauty 
that is hidden in them; secondly, because it affords an opportu- 
nity of delivering to the children the news of the kingdom of 
God, which their Divine Master meant to be theirs in a very 
special way ; and finally, because their expectant hearts need to be 
given that nourishment which they as children of God require. 

In all this, the individual psychological differences manifest 
in the spiritual life of the children, and its gradual develop- 
ment, pose definite difficulties and requirements which do not 
decrease with the advent of adolescence. 

The attempt to outline the task of catechetics, the choice 
of subject matter and its planned distribution over the years 
require careful deliberation. From such deliberation has arisen 
the science of catechesis, catechetics. Catechetics is the science 

that is sister to liomiletics. Homiletics always considers its subject 
from the practical standpoint insofar as it teaches that the sermon 
should never be a purely theoretical instruction, but should 
propose a practical course for life. Catechetics also pursues the 
same objectives. Catechetics must never lose sight of the fact 
that catechesis means the transference of the content of Christian 
doctrine to those who are maturing and that, as a consequence, 
the task of education cannot be divorced from it. This is true 
especially in our own times, when the Christian education of 
youth is threatened on many fronts. 

For this reason specialists have characterized catechetics also 
as the "pedagogy of religion and of morals" (Gottler). 1 This 
concept is, however, somewhat wider than the object of cate- 
chetics. In the current meaning of the word, and so we consider 
it here, catechetics has to do only with that religious and moral 
guidance of the younger generation, which is exercised directly 
by the official ministry of the Church; it is ecclesiastical pedago- 
gy in religion and morals. Besides, there remain the religious and 
moral tasks of the parents which are outside catechetics, and the 
educational responsibilities of the Catholic school and, in certain 
instances, of the state. 2 These must share in the educative tasks as 
well as the educative responsibilities of the Church. In the 
following pages we shall deal with these duties only in passing. 

Frequently the concept, catechesis, is made synonymous with 
the phrase "religious instruction", a designation which stems 
from the era of enlightenment. 3 In adopting such a definition, 

1 J. Gottler, Religions- und Moralpcidagogik (2nd ed.; Minister i. W. : 
AschendorfFsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1931), p. 2. 

2 In certain countries, particularly in France, catechetics denotes also 
all those influences which are brought to bear on the children by the 
family, the school, etc. (Translator's note.) 

3 E. Leen, What is Education? (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1944), 
p. 163; J. D. Redden and F. A. Ryan, A Catholic Philosophy of Education 
(Milwaukee: Bruce, 1949), pp. 21-31. 

we must avoid a possible misunderstanding, namely, that cate- 
chesis is concerned only with purely theoretical instruction; it 
also implies the task of educating. For this reason we may, in 
general, use with greater precision the expression ' 'religious 
training". This term indicates that catechetics does indeed deal 
with instruction, but with instruction which not only inculcates 
correct doctrine but also makes possible a genuine religious 
education. And this religious education implies moral guidance 
as its natural correlative. 

In what pertains to the development of this work on cate- 
chetics, we intend first of all to offer in an historical survey 
the catechetical experience of the Church and to give an over- 
all view of the gradual development of present-day basic 
requirements. We shall then turn our attention to the individual 
factors of catechesis : those who present it, the catechists; those 
who receive it, the catechumens; and its purpose: the effective 
transfer of the catechetical subject matter by the catechist to the 
catechumen. Finally, we shall discuss the principles of catechetical 
method, first of all, in general terms, the most universally valid 
ones, and then, in detail, those which pertain to individual or 
special tasks and to work with different age groups. 

Ever since its foundation catechesis has always been found in 
the Church. We encounter the word, xoctyjx^v, in the New 
Testament sometimes already in its modern sense as meaning a 
basic training in Christian doctrine (Gal. 6, 6; compare Lk. 1,4). 
In profane Greek literature the word was seldom used. 

In such works xaT-vj^stv appeared in its original meaning, 
"down, to sound" or "to resound" (Compare y)x c ^ = sound). 
This meaning is the foundation for its ecclesiastical usage: the 
message of God resounds downward in the direction of men, 
according to the words contained in the Office of the Apostles 
taken from Psalm 18: "into all the earth their sound goes forth" 
(v. 5). The w r ord was also used in a transitive sense — "to instruct 

someone", especially in the sense of "an instruction for begin- 
ners . 

The word then became the technical term to designate the 
teaching given by the Church; this is the catcchcsis (xan^^ais) ; 
the catechist (6 xgctyjx&v; 6 xaTY]xv)T^) is the one who imparts 
the training; the catechumen (6 xocty)xou£jisvo<;) is the one to 
whom it is imparted, the one who receives it. A more recent 
form of the word is xarq^siv, in Latin, catechizare. From 
this is derived catechismus which originally denoted only the 
catechesis (just as the word catechisme in French today). In 
English the word refers to the book, which offers the outlines 
of the training. 



1. The Age of Baptismal Catcchesis 

The catechetical life of Christian antiquity differs from that of 
the present especially in that catechesis was not given in school, 
and that there was no special catechesis provided for children. 
In this period, however, there was a special catechesis which was 
addressed to adults. 1 This was because at that time Christianity 
was concerned with propagation, with missionary activity 
which naturally was directed to adults. In these early days this 
adult catechesis was identical with the mission sermon. Such 
sermons differed from one another, of cou r se, depending on 
whether they were directed to the Jews or to the Gentiles. To 
the Jews the missionaries had to make clear that Christ was 
the promised Messiah. They had also to take into consideration 

1 G. Bardy, "L'enseignement religieux aux premiers siecles" in 
Revue Apologetique, Vol. 66 (1938, I), 641-655; Vol. 67 (1938, II), 5-18. 
Consult also the article of J. A. Jungmann and J. Schmidlin, "Katechume- 
nat" in Lexikon fur Theologie und Kirche, Vol. V (1933), cols. 844-888. 
There is no general exposition of the history of catechesis from ancient 
times down to the present based upon the present state of our know- 
ledge. For the time after the beginning of the Middle Ages the work 
of Gobi (see below under footnote 25) is the last that has appeared. 
There are, however, the works of C. Hezard, Histoire du Catechisme 
(2nd ed.; Paris: Librairie des Catechismes, 1900); G. Bareille, "Cate- 
chese, Catechumenat" in Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, Vol. II, 
part 2, cols. 1877 ff. ; Guy de Bretagne, Pastorale Catechetique (Paris: 
Desclee de Brouwer, 1953); J. Schmidlin (M. Braun, trans.), Catholic 
Mission History (Techny, 111.: Mission Press, 1933), especially pp. 2-122; 
A. Seage, La Catequesis Antigua (Rosario, Argentina: Apis, 1953); 
R. G. Bandas, Catechetical Methods (New York: J. F. Wagner, 1929). 



the Jews themselves who had already been prepared by the Law, 
which for them was "a tutor, bringing (them) to Christ" 
(Gal. 3, 24). The sermon having been accepted with faith, 
Baptism could follow at once (compare Acts 2, 41 ; 8, 12 f, etc.). 
To the Gentiles, on the contrary, the doctrine of one God 
and of the futility of polytheism had to be preached and Christian 
moral law accepted. Thus, we find that for them a longer 
preparation was necessary, this also meant a longer term of 
probation, with prayers and fasting. 2 

At the end of the second century, at the very latest, individual 
tutoring had been replaced by group instruction followed by 
group Baptism. There were special catechists and for their 
continued training catechetical schools were founded. Baptism 
was administered at Easter, 3 making the liturgy and catechesis 
mutually complementary. Baptism as participation in the 
resurrection of Christ was made visual. Thus there arose the 

In the establishment of the catechumenate we must distinguish 
an earlier and a later period. In the earlier period (up to the 
time of Constantine) we become acquainted, around 215 A.D., 
with a complete order of the catechumenate in the Apostolic 
Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. According to this, the 
catechumenate began with a rigorous examination for the 
purpose of determining whether the profession and the way 
of life of the candidate were compatible with the Christian 
moral law. This stage lasted as a rule for three years. It was not 
only a period of probation but also one devoted to the teaching 
of Christian doctrine. The catechist, who might also be a 
layman, concluded every instruction with prayer and the 
imposition of hands. 

2 Justin, Apol. I, c. 61. The rise of catechetical schools after this date 
would seem to indicate that a more systematic catechesis was given. 

3 Tertullian, De baptismo, c. 19. 


As subject matter of these instructions Origen 4 mentioned the 
Books of Esther, Judith, Tobias, and the Sapiential Books, 
that is biblical texts which could illustrate Christian conduct. 
At the conclusion of these three years there followed another 
examination, this time concentrated less on knowledge but on 
the moral conduct of life. When this was successfully com- 
pleted, the candidate was permitted "to listen to the Gosper', 
that is, he was given a daily instruction; this dealt with the 
teachings of faith, and was joined to a daily imposition of hands 
which was exorcistic in character. As early as the third century 
the instruction culminated in the "handing over" of the 
Apostles' Creed, which the baptismal candidate had to recite 
before he received Baptism. 

The later period of the catechumenate (fourth-fifth cen- 
turies) was characterized by the conditions resulting from 
mass-conversions. Many contented themselves with entering 
the catechumenate only. By this act alone they were recognized 
as Christians. Some sought to delay Baptism, with its rigorous 
obligations, as long as possible, in any case until they were of 
a riper age. One of the more important reasons for deferring 
Baptism was the fact that if a grievous sin had been committed 
after Baptism, the Christian could, according to the severe 
penitential discipline of the times, obtain forgiveness only by 
undergoing public penance. In fact even in Christian families 
this practice of deferred Baptism was sometimes adopted. 
Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom and others were baptized 
only in adulthood. The order of the catechumenate had to be 
adapted to these conditions. The catechumenate in this period 
consisted of the following elements : 

1. To the first examination was added an introductory 

4 Origenes in Num. horn. 27, 1; compare this with Athanasius, 39th 
Letter (Epistola eortastika) to which the Didache and Pastor of Hennas are 


catechesis which now took the place of a later instruction. This 
catechesis was designed to give a survey of the content of the 
Christian doctrine of salvation. Instructions for this are given by 
St. Augustine in his work: De catechizandis rudihus. After this, 
the catechist was supposed to present in the form of a narration 
(narratio) the entire doctrine of salvation, from the fall of our 
first parents down to the Last Judgement. By this process it was 
hoped that the candidate would be led from faith to hope and 
from hope to love. For this reason Augustine attached great 
value to the fact that during the catechesis an atmosphere of 
happiness (hilaritas) should prevail. 

The reception into the catechumenate took place by signing 
the candidate with the sign of the Cross, which was generally 
followed by an imposition of hands. To this were often added 
the presentation of blessed salt and an insufflation. Through 
these ceremonies the candidate became a catechumen, and hence 
a Christian. For many years he remained such. In any event, 
through assisting at that part of the Mass which consisted in 
the reading of the word of God, the catechumen received a 
certain measure of further Christian teaching. 5 

2. The Fathers in their homilies, urged the catechumens to 
make known to the authorities that they were ready for Baptism 
before the beginning of that period which is now customarily 
known as Lent and serves as a preparation for Easter. Ecce Pascha 
est, da nomen ad haptismnm. 6 Those who applied were called 
from then on 9Gm£6[A£voi, competentes, in Rome, electi. 

Of the catecheses, which were given during this period and 
which were associated as before with exorcisms and the imposi- 
tion of hands, we have models informative in the catecheses 

5 The first unmistakable evidence we have for the presence of cate- 
chumens at the first part of the Mass (the so-called Mass of the Catechu- 
mens) is a reference in the Homilies of Origen. 

6 Augustinus, Serm. 132, 1 (PL 38, 735). 


of Cyril of Jerusalem, which he delivered in about 348. These 
contain nineteen catecheses to be given before Baptism. After a 
beautiful introduction, the first five treat of sin, Baptism and 
faith; the rest, of the Creed. In other places it was customary 
in these catecheses first to explain the history of salvation 7 
and only then in the last or in one of the final catecheses to 
present the Creed. 8 The imparting, or handing-over, of the 
Creed usually took place, especially in the West, in a special 
ceremony, the traditio symboli; to this was added in Rome the 
traditio orationis dominicae. Both formulas, the Creed and the 
Lord's Prayer, were subject to the strict discipline of the secret; 
they could be communicated only orally and had to be learned 
by heart. Further memory work was not demanded of the 
neophytes. 9 To this double traditio was frequently joined also a 
symbolical imparting of the four Gospels (Rome) or of the 
Psalms (Naples). 

On such occasions the catechesis was turned into a solemn 

7 Peregrinatio Aetheriae c. 46 (CSEL 39, 97 f); compare it with Consti- 
tutiones Apostolicae VII, 39. Since the time of St. Ambrose of Milan 
the catechumens took part in a reading of Sacred Scripture during 
Lent. In the course of these readings Genesis, Proverbs and the Sermon 
on the Mount were read through in their entirety. O. Heiming, "Alt- 
liturgische Fastenferien in Mailand" in Archiv fur Liturgiewissenschaft, 
Vol. 2 (1952), 44-60, especially 55. 

8 Augustinus, Serm. 212-214 et passim. 

9 Augustinus, De fide et symbolo, c. 1 (PL 40, 181) warns the catechist 
not to expect the candidate for Baptism to learn his explanation of the 
Creed by heart. Compare this with the article, "Auswendiglernen" in 
Reallcxikon filr Ant ike und Christentwv , Vol. I, pp. 1034-1037. If in 
connection with the traditio } a scrutinium is mentioned, what is meant by 
this is not an examination on Christian doctrine, nor a simple test 
of the person requesting baptism, but an exorcist "test" of Satan, whose 
power was to be broken. A. Dondeyne, "La discipline des scrutins dans 
l'Eglise latine avant Charlemagne" in Revue d'Histoire Catholique, 
Vol. XXVIII (Jan. 1932), pp. 5/34, and Vol. XXVIII (Oct. 1932), pp. 


ceremony held at the assembly of the community on Sunday. 10 
Catechesis and liturgy were thus fused into one. 

The communication of the four Gospels, for example, took 
place in Rome in the sixth century according to the Gelasian 
Sacramentary 11 in the following fashion. Out of the sacristy 
there emerged a procession of clerics, thuriferarii with censers, 
acolytes with lighted candles, then four deacons with the four 
Gospels, and finally the priest. The four deacons placed the four 
Gospel books on the four corners of the altar. Following this, 
the priest spoke about the Gospels. Then the first deacon stepped 
forward and read the beginning of the Gospel of St. Matthew; 
thereupon the priest gave a short talk in which he explained the 
symbolism of St. Matthew : fades hominis. The same thing was 
done by the other three deacons with the other three Gospels, 
each followed by a short sermon by the priest, who at the end 
gave a concise summary of the meaning of the ceremony as 
a preparation for Baptism. 

In the Sunday Mass (which was probably joined to this 
ceremony) the godparents of the candidates for Baptism came to 
the fore. Their names were read at the Memento of the Living ; 
the names of the baptismal aspirants, who because of the dis- 
cipline of the secret were unable to be present, were announced 
in the Hanc Igitur; the sacrifice was offered especially for them. 12 

3. Baptism was administered on the vigil of Easter with great 
solemnity. The ceremonies began with a renunciation of Satan and 
a confession of faith. The newly baptized were then confirmed. 
Vested in white baptismal robes, they assisted, for the first time, 
at the celebration of the Mass, and received Holy Communion. 

10 In Rome it appears that the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent 
were chosen. The intervening weeks still contain unmistakable references 
to Baptism. 

11 I, 34-36 (Wilson 50-60). 

12 Ibid. I, 26 (Wilson 34). 


4. The newly baptized wore the white baptismal robe 
during the entire octave of the Paschal feast up to Low Sunday. 
In this festal week in which they appeared daily at Mass and 
received Holy Communion, they were also given the final 
catechesis on the Sacraments. Because the rites themselves were 
also included under the discipline of the secret, and because on 
the other hand, the language of the liturgy was the vernacular, 
all essential matters, insofar as they had not been previously 
anticipated, were now for the first time explained during the 
course of their actual reception. 

Examples are preserved for us in the five " Mystagogical Cate- 
cheses" of Jerusalem, which have been handed down to us with 
the catecheses of Cyril, and also in the writings of St. Ambrose, 
De Sacramentis and De Mysteriis, 13 and in the catecheses of 
Theodore of Mopsuestia. 14 

From the sixth century onward the catechumenate began to 
decline, since the Baptism of adults in the Roman-Grecian 
world, which had become Christian, was more the exception 
than the rule. 15 With the conversion of the Germanic tribes, and 
with that of the Slavs — these were most generally mass con- 
versions — the old custom was no longer employed. A prepara- 
tion lasting only a few weeks was thought sufficient after which 
the whole tribe was baptized. In these mass Baptisms whole 

13 Consult among others J. Quasten, Monumenta eucharistica et liturgica 
vetustissima (Bonn: Peter Hanstein, 1935); CSEL 73, 15-116. For die style 
of the catecheses of Cyril and Ambrose, consult G. S. Sloyan, "Religious 
Education: From Early Christian to Medieval Times", in Shaping the 
Christian Message (New York: Macmillan, 1958), pp. 10-12, 16 f. 

14 Edition of A. Riicker, Rhus baptismi et missae quern descripsit Theodoras 
ep. Mopsuestiae (Minister, 1933). 

15 A written testimonial which already shows signs of this trend 
may be found in Johannes Diaconus, Ep. ad Sennarium (c. 500) Nos. 2-6 
(PL 59, 401-403), and still another in Fulgentius (d. 532) Ep. 12, 2 (PL 65, 
380) who answers the question put to him by the Deacon, Ferrandus, 
concerning the Baptism of a negro slave. 


tribes were sometimes baptized; their subsequent education 
being left to the community under the tutelage of the Church. 
Only later were certain customs of the ancient Christian cate- 
chumenate revived. 16 

The usages of the catechumenate in a more or less condensed 
form were, nevertheless, incorporated into the rite of Baptism 
for children. In it we can still recognize the principal phases of 
the ancient preparation for Baptism. From the introductory 
catechesis there remains the insufflation, the sign of the Cross, 
the salt blessed under exorcism; from the time of the catechu- 
menate itself, an exorcism (including another signing with the 
Cross) and the oration; from the final preparation of the electi, 
the imparting (and at the same time the recital on the part of 
the godparents) of the Lord's Prayer and the profession of 
faith, the Creed. From early on the last exorcism as well as 
the renunciation of Satan, and the replies to the questions 
concerning faith which are expected of the godparents im- 
mediately before the act of Baptism itself were part of the 
Baptism of children. 17 

The ecclesiastical catechesis of Christian antiquity was 
therefore generally given as a means of preparing adults for 
Baptism. What steps were taken to provide for the Christian 
training of baptized children? 

That in Christian families the Baptism of children was from 
a very early date considered as a matter of course is attested 
by an incident in North Africa during the lifetime of St. 

16 J. Schmidlin, "Die Katechumenatspraxis in der gegenwartigen 
Heidenmission " in Lexikon fur Theologie und Kirchc, Vol. V, col. 887. 

17 Benedictine Fathers, The Rites of Adult Baptism (Philadelphia: 
Dolphin Press, 1937), especially pp. 1-19; Ph. Oppenheim, "De Fontibus 
et Historia Ritus Baptismalis " and also " Commentationes Ad Ritum 
Baptismalem" (Pars I. Ritus Antebaptismales) ; both of these are in 
Institutions Systematico-Historicae In Sacra in Liturgiam (Turin: Marietti, 


Cyprian (d. 258). A certain bishop, Fidus, was of the opinion 
that the Baptism of newly born children should be deferred 
to the eighth day following the practice of circumcision among 
the Jews. At a Synod, which 67 bishops attended, the question 
was settled and the opinion of Fidus unanimously rejected. 18 
We must remember that in this controversy it was a question 
not of infant Baptism but of the period within which the 
sacrament was to be administered. Only about the fourth 
century, during which individuals frequently deferred their 
Baptism until the approach of death do we meet with a passing 
hesitancy about the practice of infant Baptism. This reluctance 
was overcome to all intents and purposes before the advent of 
the Pelagian controversy at the beginning of the fifth century. 

There can be found no trace of an ecclesiastical catechesis 
for baptized children. It was considered normal for parents to 
undertake the further religious training of their children. 19 The 
children grew into the religious life of the Church through 
assistance at Mass, at which they frequently formed a special 
group shouting the response Kyrie eleison in the litanies with 
special fervour. 20 In the homilies of St. John Chrysostom we 
find admonitions to parents on the Christian education of 
their children. 21 They were also reminded of their obligation 
at the Baptism ceremony itself; for either they or other close 

18 Cyprian, Ep. 64 (CSEL 3, 717-721). See also G. Bichlmair, Ur- 
christentum and katholische Kirche (Innsbruck: Rauch, 1925), pp. 52-58. 

19 That such an instruction was given was mentioned by the father of 
the young Origcn; Eusebius, Hist. eccl. vi, 2, 8f. Consult also Hierony- 
mus, Ep. ad Lactam (Ep. 107). 

20 Pcregrinatio Aetheriae c. 24, 5 (CSEL 39, 72) ; ConstitutioiicsApostoHcac 
VIII, 6, 9; Testameiitiun Domini (ed. Rahmani, pp. 55, 135, 143); Chrys- 
ostomus, In ML horn. 71, 4 (PG 58, 666). H. Selhorst, "Das Kind im 
altchristlichen Gottesdienst " in Trierer Thcol. Zcitschrift, Vol. 61 (1952), 

21 Consult J. Gottler, Geschichte der Pddagogik (3rd ed.; Freiburg: 
Herder, 1935), p. 58 f. 


relatives of the children were as a rule entrusted with the task of 
renouncing Satan and of reciting the Creed in place of the 
child. 22 By so doing they agreed to act as guarantors, that the 
child would lead a Christian life; they were the sponsores. 

Only at the end of Christian antiquity did it become custom- 
ary for others outside the circle of the family to undertake 
the office of sponsor or fidei iussor, hence that of a guardian. 
This is what we call sponsorship or "acting as a sponsor". To 
it was linked the obligation of providing the child with a 
Christian training and of looking after his religious education. 23 

When, in retrospect, we ask ourselves what can be learned 
from the catechesis of Christian antiquity, the following points 
emerge : 

1. We see that the early Christians were not satisfied merely 
with purveying knowledge, but that they also sought primarily 
to form true Christians; for this reason they required a long 
period of probation, examinations and prayer and fasting. 

2. The teaching had to be comprehensive; the entire arrange- 
ment both of the catechesis and of the catechumenate draws 
its name from it. They demanded little, however, in the way 
of memory learning. 

3. Catechesis was closely bound up with the liturgy: Easter as 
the time for Baptism, assistance at the Mass of the catechumens, 
special celebrations in the course of religious training. An active 
participation in the liturgy was on the whole the most desirable 
way in which the individual Christian and the Christian com- 

22 Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition (G. Dix, The Treatise on the Apostolic 
Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome. Historical Introduction, etc. [London, 
1937], p. 33); Augustinus, Ep. 98, 6f. (CSEL 34, 527) had to assure his 
correspondent that by way of exception another person too could take 
(offerre) a child to Baptism, as for instance, the master in the case of child 

23 E. Dick, "Das Pateninstitut im altchristlichen Katechumenat" 
m ZkTh, Vol. 63 (1939), pp. 1-49, especially p. 46 ff 



munity were able to acquire the necessary religious knowledge. 
The liturgy, the forms of which were clearly recognized and the 
language of which was understood, was in a certain sense the 
continuation of catechesis and a substitute for those who had 
already been baptized as infants. 

4. For the children of Christian families the parents were the 
catechists in the true sense of the word. 

2. Catechesis in the Middle Ages 

A regular ecclesiastical catechesis for children did not exist in 
the Middle Ages. Even a catechesis for adults of the type that 
had been customary in the catechumenate of the ancient 
Christian communities, had passed out of existence, particu- 
larly after the medieval peoples had all entered the Church. 
The formative religious influence of the liturgy was, further- 
more, essentially curtailed by reason of the increasing strange- 
ness of its forms, and especially of its language. Christianity, 
nevertheless, flowered in the Middle Ages. This flowering of 
Christianity appears to be almost a puzzle to us. How did the 
people of that time receive the necessary religious training? 

In the first place, parents, as well as the sponsor who was now 
distinct from them, were still bound to provide religious training 
for their children. In the Carolingian period this obligation fell 
on both in various ways. 24 They were reminded, that not only 
bishops, priests, deacons and religious superiors, but also 
married persons in their own home shared in the pastoral 
office (pastoris officium); they were, as a consequence, expected 
to instruct their children in the mysteries of faith and in the 

24 Thus in can. 19 of the Synod of Aries (813) which was repeated 
frequently in subsequent synods: Ut parentes filios suos et patrini eos quos 
dejonte lavacri suscipiunt, erudire summopere studeant; illi quia eos genuerunt . . . 
isti quia pro eis fideiiussorcs cxistunt. Mansi, Vol. XIV, Col. 62. 



sacrament of Baptism. 25 The sponsors were specially selected. 26 
Before anyone was permitted to assume the responsibility of 
godparent, he had first to undergo an examination to determine 
whether he knew the Creed and the Our Father by heart; for, 
in the absence of parents, the godparent had to undertake the 
task of teaching both these formulas; in addition he had to make 
the children understand the faith as he had promised on their 
behalf and lead them to a life worthy of their Baptism. 27 Since 
that time (it was first referred to at a Paris Synod in 829) a 
special godparent was required also for Confirmation; who 
could, if necessary, take on the same obligation. 

Carolingian legislation also attempted to set up a school 
system in addition to the cloister and cathedral schools which 
were already in existence. This system, it was hoped, would 
serve as an active agent in the religious training of youth. 28 
Here and there schools of this kind were actually opened in 
conjunction with rural parishes; but such schools as a rule 
never advanced beyond the training of acolytes and the prepara- 
tion of candidates for the clerical state. Only after the crusades 
and the growth of trade was there an increase in the number of 
elementary schools, at first in the cities. Some religious training 

25 Thus, making his own the words of Venerable Bcde, Jonas ot Orleans, 
De institutione laicali II, 16 {PL 106, 197 199). Compare I, 8 {ibid., 
p. 134m). — See P. Gobi, Geschichte der Katechese im Ahendlande vom 
Verfalle des Katcchumenates bis zum Ende des Mittelalters (Kempten : Kosel, 
1 880), p. 21m, p. 51 f. 

26 Gobi, pp. 35-60. 

27 Ibid., p. 54m That this duty was taken seriously can be learned 
from the feet that confession formulas at that time often contained a 
reference to the godparent having failed in his duty to instruct his god- 
child; e. g., Jh gihuy daz ih mine funtdivillold (= fontis filiolos) so ne 
lerda, sose ih in ddr antheizo uuard: Gobi, p. 59 f. — J. T. McNeil and 
H. M. Gamer, Medieval Handbooks of Penance (New York: Columbia 
Univ. Press, 1938). 

28 Gobi, pp. 98-105. 



was thus made possible for a small section of the youth. This 
training was given by a teacher and was (like the entire curricu- 
lum) merely supervised by the pastor. Only in isolated case did 
the synods (as for example in Beziers, 1246; 1254 in Albi) 
oblige those entrusted with the care of souls to give very simple 
instructions to the children. 

Whatever was done directly in catechesis by the clergy and 
by those entrusted with the pastoral care of souls was directed 
first of all to adults. Episcopal and also civil ordinances of the 
Carolingian period urged that priests should teach the faithful 
in the vernacular about the faith and the moral law every 
Sunday or at least every second Sunday; 29 they were to acquaint 
the faithful with the Lord's Prayer and the Creed and cause 
them occasionally to be recited. The recitation of these formulas 
by clerics within hearing of the people, as well as their recital 
in common by the faithful, were customary throughout the 
whole of the Middle Ages. This took place generally in con- 
nection with the homily, which followed the Gospel of the 
Mass. From time to time, especially during Lent, it was required 
that an explanation of these formulas accompany their recitation- 
To the Lord's Prayer and Creed were added in the succeeding 
centuries, generally with the restricted obligation to go through 
them at least once a year, the Decalogue, the Hail Mary, as 
well as other incidental teaching upon, for example, the capital 
sins, ways of being accessory to another's sin, the w T orks of 
mercy, the eight beatitudes and the like. 30 

In the later Middle Ages, that is, after the thirteenth century, 
regulations pertinent to religious education were issued by 

29 Ibid., p. 76ff. 

30 Ibid., pp. 90-105; P. Browe, "Der Beichtunterricht im Mittelalter " 
in Theologie und Glaube, Vol. 26 (1934), 427-442. The Synod of Brixen of 
1511 demanded of clerics: omni mense semel materna vulgarique lingua 
alta voce ac intelligibiliter sutnmarie pronuncient Pater Noster, Ave Maria et 



many synods. In England catechesis for adults appears to have 
reached a very high stage of development during this period. 
Sometimes special instruction for children was also required. 31 
As a rule, however, the children attended the catechesis for 
adults, and were supposed to be given fuller instructions by 
their parents at home; even the preparation to receive the 
sacraments continued to be the concern of parents. 

A second means which the pastoral care of souls employed 
to some extent to promote the religious training of the faithful 
during the whole of the Middle Ages was the Sacrament of 
Penance. After the eighth century in France (but a whole century 
earlier in England) the rule was enforced that all the faithful 
should go at least once a year to confession. This confession was 
usually allied to an examination on faith. An outline of the 
questions which was used on these occasions ran as follows: 
"Dost thou believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost? 
Dost thou believe that these Three . . . are three Persons and one 
God? Dost thou believe that in this flesh in which thou now 
livest, thou wilt rise on the day of Judgement and wilt receive 
recompense for good and evil?" 32 Others demanded of the 
penitents the recitation of the Lord's Prayer and of the Creed. 
Later on, more matter was added, especially concerning sins. 33 

Towards the end of the Middle Ages this practice of question 
and answer gave birth to the so-called "confessional booklets": 
they were meant to serve as a preparation for confession and 

Credo, hoc est Symholum Apostolorum una cum decern praeceptis, quinque 
sensihus, septem peccatis mortalibus, septem sacramentis, novem alienis peccatis, 
octo circumstantii peccatorum et sex operibus misericordiae. J. Bauer, Die 
Spendung der Taufe in derBrixner Diozese (Innsbruck, 1938), p. 75 f. 

31 Gobi, pp 89, 91, 94 if, 103. — The division of formulas into seven 
parts was especially beloved in the twelfth century, see Rudolf (below 
on p. 16) p. 72 £ 

32 J. A. Jungmann, Die lateinischen Bussriten (Innsbruck, 1932), pp. 158, 

33 Gobi, p. 107£ 



generally contained a very exhaustive list of sins. After the inven- 
tion of printing they found widespread acceptance among the 
people. 34 Some were intended for the use of priests. They may 
be considered forerunners of the catechism, except that the 
section devoted to the commandments dominated all others. 

About this same time when reading had ceased to be a mys- 
terious art, writings and books came to be part of religious 
instruction. 35 Some few written compilations of important 
catechetical texts, probably intended for the priest were publish- 
ed earlier. Thus we speak — in an anticipatory use of the 
title "catechism" — of a Weissenburger Catechism (end of 
the eighth century), which contained in addition to the Ger- 
man translation of the Lord's Prayer, the capital sins, both 
the Apostles' and the Athanasian Creed as well as the Gloria 
in excelsis. 36 A German explanation is appended to the Lord's 
Prayer. Latin expositions of these formulas often appeared 
from this time on. 37 After the invention of printing other 
works were published; these were intended for the reli- 

34 Before 1520 we can prove the existence of 50 printings of this 
penitential booklet. The oldest of these was published by F. Falk, Zk Th, 
Vol. 32 (1908), pp. 754-775; for other examples see Lexikon fur Theologie 
undKirche, Vol. II (1932), col 102f. 

35 Gobi, pp. 281-292. 

36 E. v. Steinmeyer, Die kleineren althochdeutschen Sprachdenkmaler 
(Berlin, 1916), pp. 29-38. 

37 Of this kind is one chapter of the Disputatio puerorum, c. 1 1 f. ascribed 
to Alcuin (PL 101, 1136-1144) which is repeated in its entirety by Bruno 
of Wlirzburg (d. 1045), Commentarius (PL 142, 557-568), implicit proof 
that it was employed for centuries; see Probst (above 5), pp. 87-94. 
An excellent model for catechists was the Lenten sermons which St. 
Thomas preached in Naples in 1273. These are contained in the four 
Opuscula on the Creed (including the Sacraments), on the Lord's Prayer, 
on the Hail Mary and on the Commandments; consult the Opuscula 
omnia of Mandonnet IV, pp. 349-460. — They were translated into 
English by Laurence Shapcote in two volumes entided: The Three 
Greatest Prayers (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1937) and The 



gious instruction of the people and their content was far 
more extensive than that of the confessional book. 38 To this 
class of catechetical matter belongs the Opus Tripartitum of 
Gerson, Chancellor of Paris, and also a whole series of works 
which by their titles indicate that they could be used equally 
well as prayer books or books of devotion, as for instance, the 
Christenspiegel, 39 the Seelenwurzgdrtlein, Der Seek Trost, Die 
himmlische Fundgrube and especially the Himmelsstrasse of the 
Viennese Dean, Stephen Landskron (d. 1477). Public posters were 
also pressed into use to further the instruction of the faithful. 

In his German translation of Gerson's book, Gciler of Kaisers- 
berg urged priests, parents, schoolmasters and masters of 
hospitals to see "that the teaching of this booklet be written 
upon placards and posted, whole or in part, in public places 
such as parish churches, schools, hospitals, and holy places". 40 
In addition to the wall posters, we know of murals and in general 
of catechetical plastic arts being employed. 41 Throughout the 
Middle Ages the principle was maintained that pictures, stained 
glass windows, etc., were books for the unlettered. The prin- 
cipal statements of the Creed were also the main themes of 
ecclesiastical art. 

Toward the end of the Middle Ages a more or less complete 

Commandments of God (London: Burns, Oates &: Washbourne, 1937). — 
Informative is R. Rudolf, Thomas Peuntners Betrachtungen uher das Vater- 
unser und das Ave Maria (Wien, 1953), pp. 69-75. 

38 Gobi, p. 288 ff. J. Janssen (M. A. Mitchell and A. M. Christie, 
translators), History of the German People at the Close of the Middle Ages 
(St. Louis: Herder, 1896), Vol. I, pp. 25-61. 

39 Composed by the renowned Franciscan, Dederich Kolde (Printed 
after 1480) and published by Moufang (see below in Footnote 46). 

40 Quoted by Janssen, I, 27 (I, 35 in the German). 

41 Gobi, pp. 268-278 ; J. T. Geffcken, Der Bilderkatechismus des 15. Jahr- 
hunderts. I: Die Gebote (Leipzig, 1855); K. Kiinstle, Ikonographie der christ- 
lichen Kunst, Vol. I (Freiburg : Herder, 1928) (the "illustrated catechism"). 
The Biblia Pauperum is quite a different matter; see Kiinstle, Vol. I, pp. 


series of pictures was developed, which consciously sought to 
interpret the content of the catechetical. This is true of those 
representations in which the apostles were depicted, each with 
a scroll, upon which the article of the Creed that was attributed 
to him was inscribed: or when on church portals the works of 
mercy were depicted. For the Ten Commandments and the capital 
sins, too, artists also developed a set canon of symbols which 
frequently appear in frescoes and more often in wood carvings. 

Finally, a distinctive factor in the religious formation of the 
faithful, especially in the later Middle Ages, was the communal 
life which was entirely pervaded by religion. People learned to 
speak a Christian language as soon as they learned to speak their 
own mother tongue — and this without the benefit of regular 
instruction. It was not doctrine couched in theoretical terms that 
was responsible for the religious life of the faithful; it was rather 
the hard and fast religious institutions. And besides everything 
else there was always the liturgy; even if it was only poorly 
understood, it still dominated the seasons of the year through the 
celebration of the ecclesiastical feasts and impressed the chief 
mysteries of faith upon the popular consciousness. How deeply 
the people were swayed by it, is shown by the mystery plays 
which after the tenth century had originated in and developed 
out of the celebration of Christmas (plays centring on the crib) 
and of Holy Week (Passion Plays) and which later incorporated 
the whole of the history of salvation in the plays for Corpus 
Christi. A formative force of tremendous effectiveness must 
have emanated from them. 

Of great importance were the manifold religious customs and 
usages of the era. 42 They accompanied the course of the year ; 

42 L. A. Veit, Volksfrommes Brauchtum und Kirche im deutschen Mittel- 
alter (Freiburg: Herder, 1936); for a fuller development of the material 
in this section, consult the present writer's "Religious Education in Late 
Medieval Times" in Sloyan, op. cit., pp. 38-62. 



they accompanied the Christian from his birth to the grave ; they 
pervaded all sections of the Christian community. By a religious 
consecration the Emperor was introduced to his office and the 
knight entered upon his knighthood. The guilds had their special 
patrons and their special ecclesiastical feasts. Hospitals were 
practically all dedicated to the Holy Ghost; pharmacies generally 
bore religious names. The names of inns derived from biblical 
sources; this usage pointing to the fact that men were accus- 
tomed to consider the lodging of travellers as a work of 
Christian charity. 43 Thus, the entire life of the faithful was spent 
in a religious atmosphere. 

It is in accordance with this wealth of catechetical practice, as 
we have described it, that no important works on the theory of 
catechesis were published during this whole era. 44 

To summarize, we may say of the Middle Ages that formal 
catechesis was extremely sparse, to a great extent its deficiencies 
were remedied by the wealth of religious thoughts which were 
embodied in Christian community life. Youth grew up in a 
Christian environment and thus acquired the views and the 
religious knowledge of their elders. 

We can therefore learn something from that epoch: 

1 . We can appreciate the great importance which was attached 
to catechesis in the home; in the waning years of the Middle 
Ages this must have become widely influential. 45 At no time 
can we dispense with it in our own catechetical work. 

43 Many names contain references to the Magi and the equipment which 
they took with them on their journey: others make use of the symbols 
of the four evangelists; K. Hober, Der biblische Ursprung alter Wirtshaus- 
namen (Cologne, 1934); E. Weekley, The Romance of Names (London: 
John Murray, 1922), especially pp. 84-91; Ph. Oppenheim, op. cit., 
"Commentationes, etc.", pp. 48-72. 

44 Anything touching on these points may be found in C. Krieg, 
Katechetik (Freiburg, 1907), p. 54 £ 

45 The preacher of the Reformation, George of Anhalt, (Predigten, 
Wittenberg 1555, 298) points to the fart that in the Middle Ages mothers 



2. We can see the formative influence of a life lived in a Chris- 
tian community. If life today has been widely de-Christianized, 
we should for that very reason take every precaution that we 
provide the child at least with the atmosphere of a Christian 
family, with well-planned and beautifully executed religious 
ceremonies and, where possible, with a Catholic school. The 
importance of building up Catholic organizations for youth 
is obvious. 

3. Throughout these centuries formal catechesis revolved 
around set formulas. This fact alone should vouch for the time- 
less value of such formulas, especially (besides the Lord's Prayer) 
of the Creed. 

On the other hand we do not wish to be blind to the weak- 
nesses which are manifest in the religious training imparted 
during the Middle Ages. This era contented itself too easily 
with religious usage and paid too little attention to the religious 
formation of the mind, knowledge and the understanding. Thus 
the people of the Middle Ages remained mentally immature. 
Only in such a way can we adequately explain the speedy 
collapse of religious thought which the Reformation caused in so 
many spheres and in such a widespread fashion. 

3. The Tridentine Reform 

Through the appearance and the success of Luther, it suddenly 
became evident, that the young as well as the old would have to 
be instructed in Catholic doctrine much more thoroughly than 

were still "the noblest pastors and bishops in the family" by whom the 
articles of faith and the Commandments of God were preserved; this 
has been quoted by J. Baumgartler, Die Erstkommunion der Kinder 
(Miinchen: Kosel u. Pustet, imp. 1929), p. 226. — Consult J. Janssen, 
op. cit. } (German edition, 25-28); Schrems, ut infra (under footnote, 
No. 55), p. 5ff., and p. 70 ff. Catechesis within the family setting was still 
the general rule until the eighteenth century, cf. Hofmger, p. 21 . 



before. Thus the beginning of the new period is marked by a 
notable increase in efforts to promote catechesis, in particular the 
catechetical training of children. The Council of Trent obliged 
the bishops to provide for catechesis to be given to children in 
all parish churches at least on Sundays and holy days of obligation. 

Admittedly all that was done must at first be considered a defen- 
sive measure. The Reformers zealously sought to propagate 
their teaching, not only among adults, but also among the 
children. In 1529 Luther himself published a catechism — the 
book received this title for the first time from him — in two 
different editions, one of which was intended for pastors and 
teachers, the other for the children. With regard to content 
Luther adhered fairly closely to the old formulas which he 
explained briefly; and his explanations, too, kept to the tradi- 
tional lines. Only in its construction does the "new doctrine" 
betray itself: Luther begins with the main article of the Com- 
mandments — which man cannot observe and through which he 
recognizes himself to be a sinner. Only then follows the other 
main article: on Faith. Within forty years Luther's catechism 
achieved a distribution of well over 100,000 copies. 

The Catholics then recognized that catechisms had to be 
written, but catechisms no longer in the sense of popular 
devotional booklets, which only incidentally offered some 
instruction, but in the sense of concise and clear summaries of 
Christian doctrine. Books thus came to dominate catechesis 
and to relegate to the background the community as a formative 
force. In fact, as early as 1530 a series of Catholic catechisms 
began to appear. In some instances their authors were eminent 
champions of the Church. 46 Among these we can list such names 

46 Chr. Moufang, Katholische Katechismen des 16. Jahrhunderts in 
deutscher Sprache (Mainz: Kirchheim, 1881) (complete texts of fourteen 
catechisms), also P. Bahlmann, Deutschlands katholische Katechismen his zum 
Ende des 16. jahrhunderts (Miinster, 1894). 



as Dietenberger, translator of the Bible, the theologians, Peter de 
Soto and Johannes Gropper, Bishop Maltiz of Meissen, and 
Bishop Helding of Merseburg. But their efforts were only 
moderately successful, since they retained the old devotional style, 
and lacked the necessary clarity and conciseness. Improvements 
came about in the catechisms written in the chief countries of 
Christendom by members of the newly founded Society of Jesus. 

In Germany St. Peter Canisius published three catechisms 
which were constantly reprinted in ever new editions. 47 In 
1555 his large Latin catechism appeared; it was called: Summa 
doctrinae christianae, per quacstiones tradita et in usum christianae 
pueritiae nunc primum edita. This was a catechism in the broad 
sense of the term ; but the emphasis was on the word, Summa. 
If this book had originally been intended for youth at all, it 
could only have been meant for those who were studying theo- 
logy. Numerous quotations from Sacred Scripture and the Fathers 
were printed in the margin. Between 1569 and 1570 these were 
added in their entirety to the Summa by Father Busaeus, S. J. 
and were published as a four volume commentary on the 
catechism. This commentary generally bore the title Opus 
Catechisticum and found widespread use among the clergy. 

But Canisius also provided for the youth, and first of all 
for the children. In 1556 he published his "smallest catechism". 
This appeared at first in Latin as an appendix to a Latin grammar, 
and soon thereafter in German alone as an extremely small 
booklet with the title: Der Klain Catcchismus sampt kurtzen 
gebetlen fur die ainfaltigen. In it we find the ancient formulas 
together with a few questions, in all only fifty-nine, to many of 
which it is true, very long answers were given. 

47 S. Petri Canisii doct. Eccl. Catechismi latini etgermanici, ed. F. Streicher, 
S.J., 2 vols. (Romae: Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, 1933/1936); 
O. Braunsberger, Entstehung und erste Entwichlung der Katechismen des 
sel. Petrus Canisius (Freiburg: Herder, 1893). 



Finally, Canisius published a medium-sized catechism, which 
he intended for youths who attended school; it first appeared in 
Latin in 1559: Parvus Catechismus Catholicorum, afterwards, 
however, in German under the title Kurtzer underricht vom Catho- 
lischen Glauben. This medium-sized catechism is the one which, 
with only minor changes, dominated catechesis in Germany for 
more than two centuries. Already at the time of his death (1597) 
134 editions of it had appeared, while the Summa at the same time 
had eighty-two, and the small catechism seventeen editions. 

Canisius himself made many improvements and changes in 
his catechisms ; he provided them with supplements and appen- 
dices, and sometimes changed the number and the order of the 
principal articles. The predominant arrangement which he 
ultimately retained consisted of five principal parts. They 
treated of: 1. Faith and the Creed; 2. Hope and Prayer; 3. Love 
and the Commandments; 4. The Sacraments; 5. Christian Justice. 

Although his catechisms served primarily as a defence against 
heresy, we cannot detect any polemics in them. In fact in the 
Summa the opponents at which he aims are not even named. But 
the assailed doctrines were thoroughly explained. The atmo- 
sphere of the conflict suggests why the intellectual element 
predominated (in definitions and enumerations) in them. This 
element was, however, made palatable by his approximating as 
closely as possible to the language of Scripture and of the Fathers. 
The two smaller catechisms were, in many editions, richly 
illustrated with pictures. 

In Italy Pope Clement VIII commissioned St. Robert Bellar- 
minc to compose a catechism. This appeared in 1598 under 
the title : Dottrina cristiana breve da impararsi a merited 8 An edition 
for catechists, which contained explanations, was also pub- 
lished. In this catechism, even more than catechisms of Cani- 

48 J.Brodrick, Blessed Robert Bellarmine, 2 vols. (London: Burns, Oates 
& Washbourne, 1928), Vol. I, p. 390. 



sius, catechetical formulas and various enumerations which had 
been handed down from the Middle Ages were made the basis 
of explanation. The catechism of St. Robert Bellarmine was used 
for a long time in Italy and it achieved even greater prominence 
by reason of the fact that it was prescribed for the foreign 
missions by Propaganda. When during the sessions of the Vatican 
Council of 1870, a plan for a universal catechism was discussed in 
detail, the catechism of Bellarmine was held up to the Council as a 
model. But Bellarmine expressed his own mind on the matter in 
a letter as follows: "Had I, at that time known of the catechism 
of Peter Canisius, I would not have bestirred myself to com- 
pose a new catechism, but I would have translated his catechism 
from the Latin into Italian." 49 

In France a "Canisius" also appeared in the person of Father 
Edmund Auger (Augerius) S.J. His two catechisms, published 
in 1563 and 1568, were designed to ward off the dangers of the 
heresies and were written in a spirit similar to that which charac- 
terized the German Doctor of the Church. 50 

In Spain, likewise, about this time two catechisms appeared, 
both written by Jesuits; one by Father Astete, the other by 
Father Ripalda. Both remain in use up to the present. 

Of another kind, but of the greatest importance, is the cate- 
chism which was drawn up at the request of the Council of 
Trent. This appeared during the reign of Pope Pius V, 1566, 
under the title: Catechismus ex decretis Concilii Tridentini ad par o- 
choSj or generally more concisely, Catechismus Romanus. This 
catechism, as the title indicates, was not intended for children, 
but for pastors. Through it the Council sought to help the 

49 J. Brodrick, Saint Peter Canisius, S.J. (1521-1597) (London: Sheed 
& Ward, 1935), p. 250, footnote 2. 

50 J. Dutilleuil, "Auger, Edmond" in Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de 
Geographie Ecdesiastique (Paris: Letouzey et Ane), Fasc. V (1931), cols. 
380-383 ; F. J. Brand, Die Katechismen des Edmundus Augerius, S.J. (Frei- 
burg: Herder, 1917). 



clergy in their task of giving religious instruction both to adults 
and to youth. Its authors were four theologians, three of whom 
were members of the Order of Preachers; St. Charles Borromeo 
was entrusted with its supervision. Of the various English trans- 
lations of this catechism two are worthy of note: the older work 
of J. J. Donovan and the more recent effort of John A. McHugh, 
O.P. and Charles P. Callan, O.P. 51 

The old basic principles form the basis of this catechism, but 
in such a way, that the entire teaching of the faith is presented 
in one piece. The first section devoted to the Creed is im- 
mediately followed by a second on the sacraments. Christian 
practice is dealt w T ith in the third section on the Ten Com- 
mandments and in the fourth there is an explanation of the 
Lord's Prayer. Down to the present day the Catechismus Ro- 
manus has been constantly recommended by the Popes for use 
by the clergy, the last time was by Pius XI; it is indeed "the 
Church's book of religion". 

The further progress of catechesis was promoted by the 
Council of Trent, which demanded that the people 52 , and espe- 
cially the children, be zealously instructed. 53 Diocesan statutes 
provided more detailed instructions. The difference between 
adults and children was not especially stressed in the ordinances 
and still less observed in practice. The principal form of instruc- 
tion was intended first of all for adults and included church 

51 J. Donovan, Catechism of the Council of Trent (Dublin: J. Duffy 
and Co., 1908). The preface to this translation written by the translator 
himself carries the date-line, June 10, 1829. J. A. McHugh and C. J. 
Callan, Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests (2nd rev. ed. ; 
New York: J. F. Wagner, c. 1923). 

52 Sess. V. de ref, c. 2; H. J. Schroder (trans.), Canons and Decrees of the 
Council of Trent (St. Louis: Herder, 1941), p. 26. 

53 Sess. XXIV de ref, c. 4: "at least on Sundays and other festival 
days the children in every parish (should) be carefully taught the rudi- 
ments of the faith and obedience toward God and their parents by those 
whose duty it is", Schroder, op. cit., p. 196. 



catechesis on "Christian teaching", which was frequently 
given on Sunday afternoon. In many Catholic countries, in 
addition to this, teaching of religion was made obligatory and 
supported by the civil authorities; it included all adults or at 
least the servants. This tradition, limited in application to 
certain groups of school-leavers, is still in existence today in 
certain dioceses of the Rhineland and Switzerland. 54 

The introduction of a special catechesis especially for children, 
planned to fit within the framework of ordinary parish work, 
was successful only on a small scale in the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries. 55 A certain additional teaching was provided 
by the catechetical work carried on by some of the leligious 
orders. The colleges of the Jesuits especially became centres of 
catechetical activity. The students themselves took an active 
part in it. Thus, for example, regular catechesis was given by 
the college at Fulda in nearly forty neighbouring villages. 
In Vienna and its outlying districts the Jesuit novices alone 
were entrusted with the catechesis in more than twenty places. 56 

An improvement in catechesis was noticeable in those places 
into which the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine was in- 
troduced. This Confraternity was founded in Milan in 1560 
and was approved by Pope St. Pius V in 1571. Naturally it 
became especially widespread in Italy. After the middle 
of the seventeenth century it began to appear in Germany, 

54 R. Hindringer, " Christenlehre " in LThK, Vol. II, p. 905 f. 

55 A concrete view of conditions is sketched by K. Schrems, Die 
religiose Volks- und Jugendunterweisung in der Diozese Regenshurg vom Axis- 
gang des 15. Jahrhxmderts bis gegen Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts (Miinchen, 
1929). The regulations of the Diocese of Regensburg of 1588 prescribed 
a special catechesis for children on Sunday afternoons; this same regulation 
was renewed after the disturbances of the Thirty Years' War had subsided 
(pp. 88, 179ff.). 

56 B. Duhr, Geschichte der Jesuiten in den Landern deutschcr Zunge, 
Vol. I (1907), p. 458 £; Vol. II, 2 (1913), p. 9ff; J. Brodrick, St. Peter 
Canisius, pp. 168-203. 



where it frequently found ready reception due to missions 
which had been preached to the people. Its members undertook 
personally to attend instructions on Christian doctrine and 
especially to pass these on to members of their families and 
to their servants. This broadening of catechetical activity 
redounded especially to the benefit of the children. 

The divison of the children according to age groups became 
an accepted practice in the cities, and catechisms were written 
for them. A booklet of questions as well as many other teaching 
aids were designed to ease the burden of the lay catechists. 57 
The method employed, however, was very artless: nothing 
more than an explanation of the text. The questions and answers 
were first recited or read out by the teacher. The text was then 
analyzed and expressed in different words by the teacher and 
wherever possible, illustrated by examples; it was concluded by 
an admonition or by a practical application. The main emphasis 
was on brain work and questioning; a certain mechanical 
procedure was inevitable especially in the case of the less 
educated lay teachers. But even clerical catechists were taught 
little as far as method was concerned, their ecclesiastical superiors 
failing to provide them with any specific hints on procedure. 
What was offered in the way of catechetical theory centred 
on the obligation and on the proper sentiments of the catechists, 
on books and prayer formulas to be used, and suggestions on 
how the catechist might help the children to understand the 
questions, and how he might avoid thoughtless memorizing 
of texts which they did not understand. 58 

57 Hofmger, pp. 14ff.,25ff. 

58 The attempts which were made from the 16th to the 18th centuries 
to formulate some kind of catechetical theory are treated thoroughly by 
F.J. Knecht, " Katechetik " in Kirchenlexikon, Vol. VII (1891), cols. 268-281. 
Among these attempts the work of several French clergymen is outstand- 
ing, e. g., Francis de Sales, Boudon, Fleury. For reproductions of their 


4. School Catechesis 

A new phase in the catechesis of children began with the intro- 
duction, by civil authorities, of universal compulsory school 
attendance toward the end of the eighteenth century. Religious 
instruction had always been linked with the elementary school 
and was now introduced in public elementary schools, which 
at first remained everywhere under ecclesiastical supervision. 
The era of catechesis in school had begun. 

This had undeniable advantages. For the first time all children 
could be included. In the school curriculum catechesis was 
accorded a definite place. A greater amount of religious in- 
struction was made possible. This had long been desired, firstly, 
because after the Reformation the defence against heresy had 
become necessary, and secondly, because the formative religious 
influence which had emanated from the community was 
becoming constantly weaker. By incorporating the period for 
religion into the other formative work of the school, a certain 
harmony in the total formation of the child was assured. 

True, corresponding to these advantages we also encounter 
certain disadvantages. The secular classroom was substituted for 
the church or chapel. The danger of intellectualism increased. 
Religion became just another subject taught in school, and one 
might think that all that mattered was to learn and to memorize. 

The danger of intellectualism became especially acute imme- 
diately after the general introduction of catechesis into the cur- 
riculum. It was the age of enlightenment and of rationalism. 
The spirit of enlightenment did not, in the form of genuine 
rationalism, enter into Catholic catechesis to any appreciable 
extent although its presence was felt in the circles gathered 
around certain leading figures of the new movement, among 

efforts, cf. M. Dupanloup, Methode Generate de Catechisme, 3 vols. 
(Paris: Charles Duniol, 1862). 



whom Vitus Anton Winter, Canon of Eichstatt, was perhaps 
the most outstanding. 59 Winter, author of Religids-sittlichen 
Katechetik (1811), sought to suppress, as far as possible, the 
supernatural in the subject matter of instruction. Religious 
instruction was to be restricted chiefly to moral teaching. The 
catechist was to treat of the Sacraments, "omitting all useless 
disputes, for example, concerning the Real Presence of the 
Body and Blood of Jesus Christ"; he should content himself 
with explaining their purpose and their correct use. He cham- 
pioned the unqualified adoption of the "Socratic method" by 
which the pupil should be led to draw out those religious and 
moral notions which are contained in his own head . . . "and 
gradually raise himself to the highest possible level of moral 
culture." It never occurred to him that Christian doctrine is 
based essentially on revelation and for that reason can never, 
least of all in children, be "drawn out" by natural reasoning. 

Yet this Socratic method, which was advocated by the educa- 
tionalists of the enlightenment, contained a healthy thought, 
namely, the recognition that catechesis should be linked to 
the child's world of experience and from this starting point, 
should gradually lead him on, especially with the help of 
questions. It would not, however, impose upon his memory 
concepts which he could not understand. Up to that time the 
"acroamatic" method had been used in which the catechist 
gave a lecture, and the children were only listeners (axpoacr&ou). 
It was then replaced by the "erotematic" method. Here the 
children are induced to cooperate in the learning process by 
means of questions (spayrocv). 

The wish to consider the child's mental capacity is also 
connected with the fact that, in addition to the catechism, 
"Bible History" begins to occupy a more prominent place, 

59 F. J. Knecht, op. cit., cols. 282-284. 


and this not only as an independent part of the subject matter 
of catechesis but also as a primer in the schools. This innova- 
tion traces its origin to the organizer of the elementary school 
system in Austria, Abbot Johann Ignaz Felbiger (d. 1788). 

In the period which followed the age of enlightenment and which 
attempted to overcome the harm that had been done by it, some 
priests emerged, who dissociated themselves from the rationalistic 
spirit of the age, but were concerned with deepening and devel- 
oping the valuable suggestions and impulses which it had 'started. 

One of them, although belonging chronologically to an 
earlier period, was Bernhard Heinrich Overberg (1754-1826) 
from Westphalia. 60 He worked first as a parish priest and earned 
a reputation for himself by his success as a catechist. He was 
then appointed by the Bishop of Minister, who was also a 
civil ruler, to run his Normalschule, a training institute for 
teachers, and eventually to supervise the entire school system 
in the episcopal domain. With especial zeal he turned his 
attention to catechesis. He advocated the system of developing 
the teaching matter by questioning, and emphasized the value 
for children of presentation in the form of a narrative. In order 
to promote this method of teaching Christian doctrine, he wrote 
Bihlische Geschichte des Alt en und Neuen Testamentes zur Belehrung 
und Erbauung fur Lehrer, grosser e Schiller und Hausvdter (1799), 
which in various revisions appeared in almost a hundred editions 
and as a private manual is still used today. He also wrote a cate- 
chism (1804) which was in vogue in the dioceses of North 
Germany as late as the end of the nineteenth century. 

Similar principles were advocated somewhat later by J. B. 
Hirscher (1788-1865), who was professor of Moral and Pastoral 
Theology first at Tubingen and later at Freiburg im Breisgau. 61 

60 Bernhard Overberg als p'ddagogischer Fuhrer seiner Zeit. Festschrift, ed. 
by R. Stapper (Minister, 1926). 

61 H. F. Schiel, Joh. B. v. Hirscher (Freiburg: Herder, 1926). 



In his Katechetik, he emphasized against the current moralism 
that Christian doctrine should be presented as doctrine of 
salvation and as the teaching of the kingdom of God, but not 
by means of definitions but as far as possible in historical form. 
Religious education, not great learning, should be the goal of 
catechesis. In his Katechismus (1842) he attempted to give a 
concrete form to his ideas, but he found little response since his 
plan was too unusual, and the presentation too heavy, so that 
his catechism sank into oblivion after only a few years, although 
a popular Catholic writer, Stolz, published a commentary on it. 
What also impeded the success of his ideas was his opposition to 
scholasticism, which he regarded as responsible for over-intellec- 
tual and hence sterile catechesis, while in reality the unjustifiable 
use to which it was put by the catechists was to blame. 62 

Of another type, but more firmly rooted in Catholic tradition, 
was Augustin Gruber (1763-1835), from 1823 Archbishop of 
Salzburg. 63 As Archbishop he gave "catechetical lectures" to 
his clergy. These appeared in print between 1830 and 1834. In 
opposition to enlightened " Socraticism" he stressed that the 
catechist should stand before the children as a messenger of 
God, that the basic teaching form should be one of communi- 
cation. He quoted from St. Augustine's, De catechizandis rudibus 
that there should be a nanatio, and emphasized the importance of 
the narrative presentation which, according to him, should be 
employed especially with younger children. 64 Even in instruc- 

62 F. X. Arnold, Dienst am Glauben (Untersuchungen zur Theologie der 
Seehorge 1) (Freiburg: Herder, 1948), p. 39 ff.; F. Blacker, Joh. B. v. 
Hirscher und seine Katechismen {Untersuchungen zur Theologie der Seelsorge6) 
(Freiburg: Herder, 1953); T. Filthaut, Das Reich Gottes in der katechetischen 
Unterweisung (Untersuchungen zur Theologie der Seelsorge 12) (Freiburg : 
Herder, 1958), pp. 71-102. 

63 F. Ranft, Fiirsterzbischof Augustin Gruber, Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte 
der katholischen Religionspadagogik (Innsbruck, 1938). 

64 A complete course of catecheses for beginners is appended to his 



tions on the catechism he insisted that the catechist first present 
the subject matter and only then attempt to formulate its con- 
tent. Over and above mere knowledge the catechist should aim 
at fostering faith, hope and love in the children. 

The valuable ideas which these men 65 developed and in which 
they sought to make use of the positive results of the preceding 
period did not meet with complete success. Bible History, 
however, came to be generally included in catechesis, but the 
attempts to give a new form to catechesis, one better adapted 
to the mental capacity of the children, never achieved their 
objective. The catechisms that were authorized in the age of 
enlightenment gave the impression of subjective drafts which 
seemed to offer no permanent solution to the problem. In the 
rising Catholic restoration, moreover, anything that had 
originated in the age of reason was suspect. When, thus, in 
1847 the catechism of Jos. Deharbe, S.J. appeared, which again 
took up along the traditional line and which in addition was 
exceptional in its completeness, correctness of teaching, and clari- 
ty of expression, it soon prevailed over all previous catechism 
attempts and became the predominant catechism in Germany. 

Also in regard to method, there was a return to the simple 
explanation of the catechism text, to which were added practical 
applications. Even the smallest children were instructed by means 
of a catechism-catechesis of this type as soon as they could read. 66 

Lectures; these catecheses were edited and published by M. Gatterer, 
A. Gruber's Element arkateche sen (Innsbruck: Rauch, 1922). 

65 Allied with Gruber as the opponent of Socraticism and akin to 
Hirscher in his emphasis on the idea of the kingdom of God, but less 
balanced was B. Galura (1764-1856) who was a guiding light of the 
catechetical movement in Austria and finally became Bishop of 
Brixen; see J. Hemlein, Bernhard Galuras Beitrag zur Erneuerung der 
Kerygmatik (Freiburger Theol. Studien 65) (Freiburg : Herder, 1952) ; Filthaut, 
op. tit. y pp. 46-71,164-167. 

66 Gustav Mey was an exception. His Vollstandige Katechesen fur die 



Certain changes came about before the end of the century. 
The de-Christianization of the masses was growing in the big 
cities despite the intensive catechesis instructions which children 
had received over the years. It had to be recognized that it no 
longer sufficed in school catechesis to foster knowledge and 
particularly merely memorized knowledge since the family 
evidently no longer supplemented the work of the catechist as 
it generally had in earlier times. A second factor was that in 
the secular subjects psychology had helped to develop methods 
during the last decades of the nineteenth century which con- 
vinced teachers that they must more than hitherto consider the 
child's mental capacities. Catechesis could not very well fail 
to avail itself of these advances. 

There arose around 1900 the Catechetical Movement, 67 
almost simultaneously in Munich and Vienna. In both cities 
there had been, for some years previously, catechetical societies 
and reviews in which the state of catechesis was eagerly discussed 
as well as suggestions for reforms. These magazines, in Munich 
the Katechetische Blatter and in Vienna Christlich-Pddagogische 
Blatter, had a wide influence also outside the German-speaking 
countries. After 1903 catechetical courses were held in various 
places : Salzburg, Vienna, Munich, Lucerne, Agram, AschafFen- 

untere Klasse der katholischen Volksschule appeared for the first time in 1871 
and have since been reprinted or re-edited many times (the last was by 
Th. Hoch, Freiburg: Herder, 1952). These instructions use the biblical 
narrative as their starting point and are very concrete both in presentation 
and application. Cf. A. Barth, "Wer ist Gustav Mey?" in KBl } Vol. 77 
(1952), pp. 212-216. — In the catechetical theory which he propounded in 
Theorie der geistlichen Beredsamkeit (4th ed., 1908; first edition, 1877/78), 
J. Jungmann (d. 1885) refers to the principles set forth by Gruber on this 
as well as on other points. Outside of him these principles were practically 

67 F. X. Eggersdorfer, "Die Kurve katechetischer Bewegung in 
Deutschland in einem halben Jahrhundert "in KBl, Vol. 76 (1951), pp. 10 to 
16, 55-61. 



burg, Aaarau, Budapest, Innsbruck, and Klagenfurt. The first 
success of the movement and, at the same time, a preliminary 
conclusion, was reached at the Catechetical Congress held in 
Vienna in 1912. 

What the movement had aimed at was an improved method 
of catechesis, through which the subject matter of catechesis 
should not only be imprinted on the child's memory but also 
be grasped by the understanding. The catechist was warned not 
to begin with the catechism text and then to explain it question 
by question, but he was advised to use as his starting point 
an example which appealed to the children and from it to 
develop the text of the catechism. The text-explanatory 
was to be replaced by the text-developing method, which was 
then called the "Munich Method". At the first Catechetical 
Congress the relevant suggestions received their final and 
definite formulation. The theoretical objections which had 
been previously raised were heard no more. The first objective 
had been reached, although it would take a long time before 
the majority of catechists accepted these new ideas. 

The Catechetical Movement, however, went on, especially 
after the First World War. The conviction grew that it was 


not sufficient merely to make catechesis understandable for 
the child; it had to produce a lasting educative effect upon him, 
and all the more so as the family provided less and less in the 
way of religious education for its members. 

Again the methods used in teaching secular subjects provided 
new ideas and above all inspired the active or "learn by doing" 
school. This involved a teaching method based on the knowl- 
edge that children learn not only by hearing, but also by doing; 
that they are formed not only by words, but also by life itself. 
Life in the community had lost the formative religious power 
which it had possessed to such a degree during the Middle Ages. 
It thus became necessary to capture as much of religious life in the 



school as possible by catechesis, by pastoral care as well as 
by oral instruction. The connection with the liturgy, the 
entire religious activity of the children, had now to be fostered 
more strongly than ever before. 

These findings and requirements were drawn up at the second 
Catechetical Congress which was held in Munich in 1928. 
The questions concerning method were to a great extent settled 
at this Congress. 

The revival of method, however, influenced the arrangement 
of textbooks, especially the catechism. Existing catechisms 
proved to be hindrances to catechesis based on the new principles, 
because of their all too abstract language and, still more, because 
they contained too much matter. Thus at the turn of the cen- 
tury in various places attempts were made to emend the cate- 
chisms. These resulted finally in extensive revisions. Within 
Germany the so-called German uniform catechism of 1925 was 
finally substituted for the Deharbe catechisms. In 1930 in Austria 
a new catechism was introduced. In both these works passages 
to be memorized were reduced and the language simplified. 
At the same time in Austria a still further step was taken; the 
authorities restricted the use of the catechisms, which had 
always been couched in abstract terms, to the upper grades of 
the elementary school; for the lower grades a special book 
was designed, namely, the Religionsbuchlein. This booklet opens 
with a narration of biblical events and by means of them explains 
the most important doctrines. 

In the United States the Catechism of the Third Council of 
Baltimore approved by Archbishop, later Cardinal, Gibbons, 
in 1885, was used almost exclusively by English-language teachers 
of religion, although it has been said that the last half of the 
nineteenth century was the "era of the Deharbe Catechism". 08 

68 T. B. Scannell, "Doctrine, Christian " in Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 
V, p. 82. 



In the first third of the twentieth century objections were 
raised against the Baltimore Catechism on the score of its 
scientific terminology, its wordy definitions, its size, and its 
abstractness, and attempts were made to improve upon it. 69 
Several private studies gained some recognition, for example, 
Roderick MacEachen, M. V. Kelly, J. H. Heuser, E. H. Deck and 
J. H. Burbach, ct ah, but their acceptance was limited. Their ap- 
pearance did, however, hasten the day of official recognition of 
the discontent by making visual the shortcomings inherent 
in the official text. It was at Rochester during the National 
Congress of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine that the 
first announcement was made by Father Francis J. Connell, 
C.SS.R. of the prospective work. 70 The plans initiated by the 
Episcopal Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine 
in 1934 were then implemented for the revision of the book. 
More than a hundred theologians, a number of bishops, and 
scores of teachers in the field collaborated in the work. After 
several thoroughgoing emendations of "trial" texts had been 
made, the resultant revision was submitted to the Congregation 
of the Council for approval. A few changes were suggested. 
When these had been made, the final text, based on the text of 
The Third Council of Baltimore, was finally sanctioned by the 
Holy See in 1 941. 71 

69 M. V. Kelly, " Catechism Teaching " in American Ecclesiastical Review, 
Vol. LX (Jan., 1919), pp. 36-44; (Feb., 1919), pp. 157-166; (March, 1919), 
pp. 281-287. 

70 In the various sessions over which he presided the professional 
teachers and priests who were in attendance were asked for their sug- 
gestions and recommendations. F. }. Connell, "The Forthcoming Revision 
of the Baltimore Catechism" in Journal of Religious Instruction, Vol. X 
(1940), pp. 638-650. 

71 A. G. Cicognani, "Two Great Scholarly Achievements of the 
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine" in Proceedings, Philadelphia 1941 
(Paterson: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1944), pp. 7-14; F. J. Connell, 
"Special Features and Uses for the Revised Baltimore Catechism in 



111 England the catechism of Bishop Challoner underwent 
extensive revisions (1836, 1855, before 1879 and again in 1883) 
and through these revisions increased considerably in size 
(from 290 to 370 questions). In its revised form it has become 
the catechism of present-day England. 72 

The continental reforms were dictated by the needs of cate- 
chetical method. Soon religious pedagogues awakened to the fact 
that, to insure a proper religious training in which the powers 
inherent in Christian doctrines would become activitated in the 
children, still other requirements would have to be met. The 
manner in which the subject matter was presented in the 
catechism, had been determined in an all too biased fashion 
by the laws of the theological sciences and as a consequence by 
concern for clear definitions even in those catechisms in which 
the material had been reduced to a minimum and the language 
greatly simplified. An effective preaching of the Gospel and 
especially an effective catcchesis must be bent on producing in 
the listeners a striking picture of the entire content of Christian 
doctrine and on making them aware that Christian doctrine is 
truly a joyful message. It is not sufficient that the content of 
faith be precisely presented in full detail ; it must be imparted so 
that it appears in all its forccfulness as a synthesis and is ap- 
preciated as "a message" (as a kcrygma) in all its beauty and in 
all its supernatural sublimity. After the efforts of the Catechetical 
Movement at the beginning of the century to bring about a 
formal methodological renewal had ebbed, a new movement 
for reform was set in motion. This new effort has for its objective 
a material-kerygmatic re-examination of catcchesis and the 

Religious Instruction" in Journal of Religious Instruction, Vol. XII (Dec, 
1941), pp. 297-304; F. J. Connell, "Catechism Revision" in The Con- 
fraternity Comes of 'Age (Paterson: Confraternity Publications, 1956), pp. 

7 - j. S. Marron, "On the History of the Penny Catechism" in The 
Sower, No. 125 (Ocf.-Dec, 1937), pp. 199-201. 



catechetical problem. This new movement for reform is at the 
moment in the process of being further expanded. 

5. Survey of the Present 

Our survey of the history of catechesis considered chiefly 
the development that had taken place in Central Europe. But 
just as general cultural life, so also catechetical life has travelled 
its own road in different countries. The present phase of inter- 
national development, in which national boundaries are gradually 
losing their meaning, impels us to cast an appraising look at 
the activities in the field of catechetics and to attempt to learn 
from them whatever of value they have to offer. This has been 
made possible for us through the literary output of the past 
few years. 73 

In order to obtain a satisfactory picture of the catechetical 
situation of the present day by surveying its progress in other 
countries, we must single out only a few typical examples. 

In France the status of catechesis 74 has been conditioned by 
the fact, that the great mass of children, baptized Catholics, 

73 We must mention, first of all, the work which was put out by G. 
Deleave, S.J., Oh en est V enseignement religieux? (Tournai, Belgium: 
Editions Casterman, imp. 1937) with a conspectus and bibliography for 
catechesis embracing France, Germany, England, Spain, Italy, Holland, 
the United States. This is a compilation of articles that had previously 
appeared in the Nouvelle Revue Theologique, No. 10 (Sept.-Dec, 1936). 
In a certain sense a continuation of this ambitious project is the inter- 
national magazine Lumen Vitae which appeared for the first time in 
Brussels in 1946. At first this magazine contained articles in different 
languages, but since 1950 it has appeared in distinct French and English 
editions with contributions from all over the world. — - A similar 
undertaking was begun in Vienna, but only one volume has appeared 
thus far: Der elementare katholische Religionsunterricht in den Landern Europas 
in monographischen Darstellungen. I: Die Lander des germanischen Sprach- 
gehietes } edited by L. Krebs (Vienna, 1938). 

11 A. Boyer, Pedagogie chretienne (Paris, 1947), pp. 236-304; A. 
Elcliinger, "Moderne katholische Erziehung in Frankreich" in KBL, Vol. 



and especially those who are deprived of an effective religious 
education in the family, are forced to attend irreligious state 
schools. Only a fifth of the children, namely, those who 
attend Catholic private schools (ecoles libres), receive a suitable 
religious training. The efforts which are expended on catechesis, 
however, are very intense; they are concerned chiefly with 
establishing teaching centres outside the schools themselves. 
At an early age the children are regularly brought to these 
centres by lay-helpers, especially by women and girls. There 
they are tended in a religious atmosphere and are trained in the 
practice of their religion (formation chretienne des touts-petits). 

Organizations of this kind are also entrusted with the task 
of eventually interesting the children in attending weekly cate- 
chesis in the parish. For those of nine, ten and eleven years of 
age who attend the State schools, catecheses are given by a 
priest in the parish church, as a rule once a week, usually on 
Thursdays which is not a school day. Regular attendance at 
these catecheses for a period of three years is required in most 
dioceses as a condition for admittance to communion solennelle 
(until just recently called premiere communion). In this custom 
the practice of receiving First Communion in a body for 
children of twelve years of age still survives — a practice which 
even religiously indifferent families still treasure highly. In a 
majority of dioceses authorities have actually succeeded in 
bringing over approximately ninety per cent of the children 
to attend such catecheses regularly for three years. Only six 
dioceses report an attendance as low as forty to fifty per cent. 
Aware that this one hour which is necessarily over-rich in 

75 (1950), pp. 285-290 and 333-338: L. Lentner, Religionsunterricht zwi- 
schen Methode undfreier Gestaltnng. Die element are religiose Unterweisung in 
Frankreich (Innsbruck, 1953); C. Houle, "The Catechetical Movement in 
France as shown in Recent Pastoral Letters" in Journal of Religious Instruction 
(March, 1937), pp. 592-594; G. Delcuve, "Religious Pedagogy in France; 
Some Present Trends" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 11 (1956), pp. 205-230. 


instruction docs not suffice to induce the children, who often 
are strongly influenced by their irreligious surroundings, to 
lead a truly Catholic life, those concerned have tried for some 
years now to lengthen the time devoted to the catechesis given 
on Thursdays, making it last the entire morning, and to 
embellish it with all types of child-like Christian activities: 
games, songs, occasional solemnizations of feast days, self- 
improvised recreation; in addition activities to foster Catholic 
charities as well as attendance at Mass, were eventually included 
in the programme. The children are required to spend at least a 
half day in a Christian atmosphere and in this way they are 
enabled to experience personally their religion. 

Ever since the Decree of Pope St. Pius X, ecclesiastics charged 
with the care of children have attempted to prepare the children 
for an earlier "private first Communion", by means of an 
elementary catechesis, so that the communion solennelle later on 
would have only the character of a communion Mass to which 
a solemn profession of faith was added. 75 But their efforts have 
met with only partial success. Attempts have also been made, 
with results only fairly satisfactory, to bring children to attend 
voluntarily the catechisme de perseverance; that is to say, the 
catechesis which is given to the older children as a continua- 
tion of compulsory catechesis. 

Approximately since 1908, and especially since the appearance 
of the pastoral letter of Bishop Landrieux (1922), efforts have 
been made in France to do away with the simple explanation of 
the catechism and in its place to substitute, and to gain acceptance 
for, the concrete element, the methode historique and methode 
intuitive. Ever greater emphasis is, moreover, being placed 

75 For a discussion of the problems which have been broached here 
consult the special number of La Maison-Dieu, Vol. 28 (1951, IV): "Le 
probleme pastoral de la Communion solennelle"; Lentner, op. cit., pp. 



upon the active cooperation of the children (methodc active) on 
all levels, and the liturgy is accorded an especially promi- 
nent place. In the last few years, all these efforts have found 
significant expression in a new French edition of the uniform 
catechism (of 1938, resp. 1947) composed by Quinet and Boyer. 
This is an innovation in several respects, and we shall speak of it 
again. Of importance also is the formation of children's organi- 
zations whose members have been grouped together under 
definite watchwords; such as the Eucharistic Crusade, 
Catholic Boy Scouts, and for some years on a rather broad 
basis, the movement Coeurs vaillants and (for girls), Ames 
vaillantes. 76 These are the preliminary stages for the mouvements 
specialises (Jocist — Jeunesse ouvriere chretienne etc.) which blos- 
somed so portentously in France and serve the purpose of both 
complementing and of enriching the doctrinal content of cate- 
chesis by a life lived in accord with the tenets of the Catholic faith. 
In the United States the Catholic Church possesses its own 
school system, for which it alone is responsible and which it 
alone supervises. 77 There is no educational level on which it 
does not exist. This school system has its own complement of 
offices, school buildings, recreational facilities, and means of 
transportation. It has its own normal training schools, diocesan 
teachers' colleges, seminaries and observation schools. Its staffs 

7 " A. Boyer, Catechetique (Paris: P. Letliielleux, 1947), pp. 208-21-4. 

77 L.J. O'Connell, "Religious Education in the Elementary Schools 
of the United States" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 4 (1949), pp. 749-766; 
J.Hofingcr, "Catechesisin the United States Today" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 2 
(1956), pp. 246-267. See also the special number of the KBl devoted to 
the United States and particularly the report of J. Goldbr miner, KBl, 
Vol. 76 (1951), pp. 137-184; W. J. McCucken, "The Renascence of 
Religion Teaching in American Catholic Schools" in Essays on Catlwlic 
Education in the United States (Washington: Catholic University of 
America Press, 1942), pp. 329-351 ; F. G.Hochwalt, "Catholic Education 
in the U.S.A. in 1953" in Religious Education, Vol. 48 (Sept.-Oct.,1953), 
pp. 3-19. 



rank with the best in the country: they are frequently graduates 
of other colleges and they are qualified and accredited teachers. 
What makes it most unique is that it has been inaugurated and 
has been able to carry on solely by means of the voluntary 
offerings of the faithful. During 1955 there were 4,423,200 
students attending 12,241 schools staffed by 136,850 teachers. 
Elementary schools account for the majority of Catholic pupils 
with an enrolment of 3,325,251. High schools have 623,751; 
colleges and universities 281,999. These figures supplied by the 
National Catholic Welfare Conference represent a gain of 39 
per cent since 1920, teachers by 142 per cent, and students 
by 110 per cent. 78 

Despite its size and its mushrooming possibilities the system 
takes care actually of only 50-60 per cent of the possible total 
Catholic pupil enrollment at the elementary level; 30 per cent 
at the secondary level and only 15 per cent at the college and 
university levels. 79 The hierarchy, the clergy and the faithful 
who conceived and help to keep in existence the Catholic 
school system rose to this challenge. Chiefly due to the inspira- 
tion and the zeal of the Most Rev. Archbishop Edward V. 
O'Hara of Kansas City, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine 
(and the Catholic Instruction League in several dioceses before its 
merger with the Confraternity 80 ) became a positive educative 
force for certain segments of the Catholic Church in the United 

78 A biennal summary of Catholic education carried out by the 
Department of Education of the NCV/C, April, 1956 (The Register, 
July 29, 1956). 

79 These percentages are based on a national average, and do not 
represent the actual percentage in any individual dioceses, where totals 
may be either higher or lower. 

80 T. L. Bouscaren, Canon Law Digest (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1949), in 
which a resume of the Letter of Pius, 5 August, 1925, is given ; for further 
details consult: J. V. Brownson, Stopping the Leak (St. Louis: Central 
Bureau of the Central Verein, 1933) ; J. Lyons, "The Origin of the League" 
in Catholic Mind, Vol. 23 (Dec, 1925). 



States. 81 In those sections which are too far removed from 
Catholic schools, or in which transportation difficulties present 
insurmountable problems, or in which Catholic schools are 
unable to cope with enrollment problems, or in which negligence 
or laxity on the part of parents make attendance impossible, 
Confraternities have been set up as the solution. These are 
complete with the active members: Fishers (home visitors), 
Helpers, Teachers, Discussion Club Leaders and Members, 
Parent Educators and Apostles to non-Catholics. 82 The Teachers 
are drawn for the most part from the ranks of Catholic public 
school teachers or from religious orders and congregations, 
chiefly women (who give unstintingly of their strength and 
their free time) . Where such competent personnel is not available, 
training centres for future lay teachers have been founded. To 
facilitate their teaching and to supplement their doctrinal 
deficiencies manuals have been written by authorities in the 
various fields: School Year Religions Instruction Manual, 83 Religious 

81 St. Meinrad, Essays and Documents on the Confraternity of Christian 
Doctrine (St. Meinrad Essays, Vol. 11, No. 4, 1956); Confraternity 
Center, The Confraternity Comes of Age (Paterson: Confraternity Pub- 
lications, 1956); Anonymous, Mid-Century Survey. Confraternity of 
Christian Doctrine in the U. S. A.— 1950 (Washington: CCD, NCWC, 

82 CCD Center, Manual of the Parish Confraternity of Christian Doctrine 
(9th ed.; Washington: CCD, 1955); J. S. Middleton, A Handbook of the 
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (New York: Benziger, 1950). 

83 There is a series of three booklets for the teacher arranged according 
to the various school levels: primary, intermediate and the upper grades, 
viz., Grades I and II ; Grades III, IV and V ; Grades VI, VII and VIII. These 
groupings also represent class groupings in those places where such 
apportioning is necessary. Actually what is preferred is every class a 
grade. When that is neither possible nor feasible, at lease a five-fold 
break-up for class grading would be preferred. Cf. Sr. M. Rosalia, 
The Adaptive Way, p. 4 (see footnote 85). All this material 
may." be obtained from Confraternity Publications (Paterson, New 



Vacation School Manual 8 * and The Adaptive Way 86 as a methodo- 
logical aid for the young lay teachers. Teaching centres have 
been set up wherever the Helpers are able to find suitable 
quarters or wherever the clergy provide parochial buildings 
for their use. The time at which this instruction is given varies : 
in some localities the teachers employ the released time offered 
by the various public school boards (either on the school 
grounds, or off them; either for the usual school year, or for 
special occasions such as preparation for First Holy Communion 
and Confirmation), free time (usually after school or on Satur- 
days, etc.) or the old Catholic Sunday School (after Mass, etc.). 86 

84 E. V. O'Hara, Religious Vacation Schools, reprint from The Ecclesi- 
astical Review, May 1930 (Philadelphia: Dolphin Press, 1938); W. T. 
Mulloy "Religious Vacation Schools and the National Catholic Rural 
Life Conference" in The Confraternity Comes of Age, loc. cit., pp. 27-40. 
E. Schmiedler, The Religiously Underprivileged Child (Washington: 
NCWC, 1933). For these schools the manuals are also arranged according 
to the same class grouping as for the School Year Religious Program. This 
material in its latest revision (1954) is built up according to The Adaptive 
Way. The booklets may be obtained (in their latest revision) from Confra- 
ternity Publications (Paterson, New Jersey). 

85 Sr. M. Rosalia, The Adaptive Way of Teaching Confraternity Classes 
(St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1955); id., Teaching Confraternity Classes 
(The Adaptive Way) (Chicago: Loyola University, 1944); ibid., a series 
of four booklets called the Adaptive Way (Towson, Md. : Mission Helpers, 
1941-1942) in which the principles that are embodied in the Adaptive Way 
are incorporated into an actual text for teachers. 

86 W. W. Keesecker, Law Relating to the Releasing of Pupils from Public 
Schools for Religious Instruction, Office of Education, No. 39 (Washington: 
U. S. Printing Office, 1933); M. D. Davis, Weekday Classes in Religious 
Education (Washington: U. S. Office of Education, 1941), Bulletin 1941, 
No. 3; J. P. Archdeacon, The Week-Day Religious School, Dissertation 
(Washington: Catholic Univ., 1927); J. M. O'Neill, Religion and Edu- 
cation Under the Constitution (New York: Harper & Bros., 1949); W. G. 
Torpey, Judicial Doctrines of Religious Rights in America (Chapel Hill : Univ. 
of N. Carolina Press, 1948), especially pp. 233-276; James J. Burke, 
''Burses, Released Time and the Political Process" /// Marquette Law Review , 
Vol. 32, 3 (December, 1 948), pp. 179-187; W. Parsons, "No Religion in the 



No class of possible educators or of special pupils is neglected : 
for mothers at home, the special scries of Parent Educator 87 
pamphlets is available ; for children who are unable to visit any 
Catholic school, or Confraternity school, Correspondence School 
Classes 88 are inaugurated, as, for example, in Montana. For 
adults whose early religious education has been neglected or 
who seek to deepen their scanty knowledge, Discussion Clubs 
are formed. 89 For these clubs special material is required. 

Schools" in The Sign, Vol. 27 (May, 1948), pp. 1 2-14; R. F. Drinan, "The 
Lawyers and Religion" in America, Vol. 80 (March 5, 1949), pp. 593-595 ; 
Godfrey P. Schmidt, "Religious Liberty and the Supreme Court of the 
United States" in Fordham Law Review, Vol. 17 (November, 1948), pp. 
173-199; J. H. Brady, Confusion Twice Confounded (South Orange, Seton 
Hall, 1954) ; N. Edwards, The Courts and the Public Schools, rev. ed. (Chicago : 
Univ. of Chicago, 1955), pp. 47-52, 350-360, 550-558; James M. O'Neill, 
The Catholic in Secular Education (New York: Longmans, Green, 1956), 
pp. 107-138. 

87 Mrs. J. J. Daly, "Parent-Educator Program of the CCD" in The 
Confraternity Conies of Age. A series of articles in the Journal of Religious 
Instruction, Vol. II (1931). Parent Educator (original series), Vol. I (Paterson, 
N. J. : St. Anthony Guild Press, 1 931 ), especially pp. 5-8. In addition to these 
publications there are the two other series that contain some of the material 
that was projected for the parent-educators, e.g., the first of these called 
The Parent Educator (New Series); I. Parental Responsibility; II. Teaching 
Prayer in the Home ; etc. (This series, five in all, may be obtained from St. 
Anthony Guild Press, Paterson, N.J.) The other group of publications is 
entitled : The Parent-Educator Section (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine). 
The first is a series of leaflets, Teaching Religion in the Home, Nos. 1-12 
(Ages 1-3); Nos. 13-24 (At Home From 3 to 6) (Paterson, N.J.: 
St. Anthony Guild Press, 1945). There is also: M. L. Healey, Heaven, 
Home and the School (Paterson, N.J. : Confraternity Publications, 1948). 

88 L. S. Hauber, "Religion by Mail" in Proceedings, Boston, 1946 
(NCWC; CCD, St. Anthony Guild Press, 1947); "Gaming Good Will 
Through the Mails " m Proceedings, Chicago, 1951 (CCD; NCWC, 1952); 
V. Day, "Correspondence Course in Christian Doctrine" in Journal of 
Religious Instruction, Vol. Ill (November, 1932), pp. 251-256; CCD, 
Manual of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (9th ed.; Washington, 
CCD, 1955), pp. 109-114. 

89 CCD, "The Religious Discussion Club" (Paterson, N. J.: 



This is supplied to them, and whole series, for example, the 
pamphlets for the New Testament, have appeared. Special 
pleas were made to Catholic students attending non-Catholic 
colleges and universities to join Newman Clubs 90 to supplement 
their religious training and to have a corrective for possible 
errors taught in the classes they attended. To the non-Catholic 
who has never heard about the Church or her doctrines the 
Confraternity sends her street preachers. 91 To take care that the 
Confraternity would not be lost sight of, an office (National 
Center) 92 was set up at Washington. This office keeps its members 

Confraternity Publications, 1942), Pamphlet No. 5; CCD, Manual of 
the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (9th ed. ; Paterson, N. J. : Confra- 
ternity Publications, 1944), pp. 61-67. For additional information see 
the Proceedings o£ the various National Catechetical Congresses in 
which various articles are grouped under the heading, Religious Discussion 
Club. The National Center of the Confraternity will supply suggestions 
and will recommend texts to be used in the course of these discussions. 
Cf. also J. Clendenin, "Religious Discussion Clubs" in The Confraternity 
Conies of Age (Paterson, N.J.: Confraternity Publications, 1956), pp. 71 to 
84; R. S. Shea, Discussion Action Clubs Challenge Adults, CCD 115 (Pater- 
son, N. J.: Confraternity Publications, 1952) pp. 1-8. 

90 13. M. Cleary, "The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and 
Newman Clubs" in The Confraternity Conies of Age (Paterson, N. J.: 
Confraternity Publications, 1956), pp. 252-256; M. A. Pleasants, "The 
CCD Committee of the National Newman Club Federation" op. cit., 
pp. 256-258; J. C Richaud, "How to Organize Junior Newman Clubs" 
and A. E. Crawford, "Activity Program for Junior Newman Clubs": 
both of these papers appear in Proceedings, Chicago, 1951 (CCD ; NCWC, 
1952), pp. 273-278, 279-287. 

91 V. F. Kilborn, "Gaining Good Will Through Street Preaching" 
iii Proceedings, Chicago, 1951 (CCD; NCWC, 1952); CCD, Manual of the 
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (9th ed. ; Paterson, N. J.: Confraternity 
Publications, 1955), pp. 74-80; A. J. Korioth, "The Apostolate of Good 
Will" in The Confraternity Conies of Age (Paterson, N. J.: Confraternity 
Publications, 1956), pp. 259-268. 

92 p^ ^ Walsh, "The National Center of the Confraternity of 
Christian Doctrine" in Proceedings, Rochester, 1935 (Paterson, N. ].: 
St. Anthony Guild Press, 1936), pp. 24-32; R. C. Rock, "The National 



posted through Our Parish Confraternity 93 on developments 
in the field and serves as a clearing house for information that 
has been gained over the years. Priests are made acquainted 
with the need for and the special problems of the Confrater- 
nity not only after but even before their ordination by special 
classes devoted to these topics in the seminary. Perhaps one of 
the crowning achievements of the Confraternity movement 
has been the fostering of a Catholic paper for children who 
attend these Confraternity classes : The Catholic Messenger [Con- 
fraternity Edition for three different levels). 94 

Another remarkable achievement is the National Catechetical 
Congress of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine which began 
holding its session in Rochester in 1935. 95 Sectional meetings 
have also assembled, and even diocesan groups have come 
together for the purpose of exchanging views and of swapping 
experiences to which actual practice has given birth. 

In regard to methodology not only for the Confraternity 
Classes but also for the Catholic school system itself, the first 
book to appear was the translation of Archbishop Messmer, 

Center of the CCD" in The Confraternity Conies of Age (Paterson, N. J.: 
Confraternity Publications, 1956), pp. 148-169. 

93 Our Parish Confraternity, a monthly messenger devoted exclusively 
to Confraternity of Christian Doctrine activities. Confraternity of 
Christian Doctrine, 1312 Massachusetts Ave., N. W., Washington 5, D.C. 
Write also to this address of the Confraternity for information. 

94 These are graded: Our Little Catholic Messenger, Junior Catholic 
Messenger and Young Catholic Messenger, with the by-line Confraternity 
Edition. Each of the numbers has a Teacher's Study Guide. This material 
is published by Geo. A. Pflaum, Publishers, Inc., 38 West Fifth St., 
Dayton 2, Ohio. The Treasure Chest by the same publisher is also used 
by the Confraternity. 

95 In the beginning these Congresses which were a part of the Catholic 
Rural Life Conference (National Rural Life Conference, Proceedings 
Twelfth Annual Convention [St. Paul, 1934], pp. 118-166) were held 
annually from 1936 to 1941. Since then they have been convoked every 
five years. 



Spirago's Method of Christian Doctrine. 96 In this the author espouses 
three different forms of instruction: the lecture form, the 
question form, the object form. In other respects it incorporates 
at least in embryonic form latter developments, which have 
been much lauded, for example, visual aids, and special chapters 
on the various types of subject matter such as Bible History. His 
book was followed by another on the Munich Method in the 
form in which Father M. Gatterer, SJ. proposed it. 97 This Mu- 
nich Method was given added support by a series of textbooks 
which Monsignor J. J. Baierl brought out; these were orientated 
on Stieglitz's catecheses. 98 The first exponent perhaps of the text- 
book for religion classes in the U. S. A., other than the catechism 
or Bible History, was Father Peter Yorke of San Francisco. 99 
Although his works never succeeded in gaining a foothold, they 
did give impetus to the Catholic catechetical revival. Into this 
fermenting progressivism were added the contributions of 
Fathers Shields and Pace. 100 Father Shields banished the catechism 
and Bible History from the first three grades, and insisted on the 
principle of correlation. Father Pace collaborated with Father 

96 S. G. Messmer, Spirago's Method of Christian Doctrine (New York: 
Benziger, 1901). 

97 M. Gatterer (J. B. Culemans, trans.), Theory and Practice of the 
Catechism (New York: F. Pustet, 1914). 

98 The last edition of these complete catecheses of Stieglitz according 
to the Munich Method (psychological method); The Creed Explained 
(5th ed. ; St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1943) ; The Grace and the Sacraments 
Explained (5th ed.; St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1949); The Com- 
mandments Explained (6th ed.; Rochester: St. Bernard Seminary, 1954). 

99 Educational Lectures (San Francisco: Textbook PubL, 1933); Guide 
to the " Textbooks of Religion" and u Hints to Teachers" (San Francisco : 
Textbook Publ., 1932). To these we should add his textbooks for the 
eight grades of the elementary school. They bear the title: Text Book 
of Religion for Parochial and Sunday Schools (17th ed., rev. ed., 1931). 

100 R. J. Deferrari, Essays on Catholic Education (Washington, D.C., 
1943), pp. 336-337; J. Ward, Thomas Edward Shields (New York: 
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947), pp. 217-258; E. A. Pace, On Methods of 



Shields, but his untimely death cut off his further development 
of Shield's catechetical method. Father Roderick MacEachen also 
tried his hand at the problem. His book on method, The Teach- 
ing of Religion, contains much provocative material, especially 
his chapters on "The Child and Religion", "Character Building" 
and "The Rule of the Positive" (which contains an impressive 
rule for the teaching of the Commandments). 101 

In her desire to furnish the child with the best method possible 
the Church in the United States turned to Europe. There it 
acquired ideas from Madame Montessori 102 and from Fr. Drink- 
water, whose system has been called The Sower Scheme 
because of the magazine of the same name in which his theories 
are broached. 103 Fie inveighs particularly against the "parrot- 
system of learning by heart" and grows angry at the too early 
introduction of the catechism into the teaching procedure ("It is 
definitely not for the children of the primary grades"). He thinks 
modern Catechisms are too large, have too many questions, 
are too theoretical (law of adaptation) . He personally favours fre- 
quent use of dramatization at the children's level and adapted 
to their capacities. 104 Madame Montessori was of course a specialist 

Teaching Religion (Wilmington, Del.: Oblates of St. Francis de Sales). 
These are the stenographic notes of Lawrence W. McCarthy. 

101 R. MacEachen, The Teaching of Religion (New York: Macmillan, 

10li Maria Montessori (Mortimer Standing, trans.), Child in the Church 
(St. Louis: Herder, 1930); id. (A. E. George, trans.), The Montessori 
Method (New York: Stokes, 1914); P. J. McCormick, "Montessori and 
Religious Instruction" in Thought, Vol. II (1927), pp. 56-71. 

103 His theory is contained principally in the following books: The 
Givers (London: Burns, Oates, 1926), Religion in Scliool Again (London: 
Burns, Oates & Washbournc, 1936), and Educational Essays (London: 
Burn-;, Oates, 1951). The magazine of which he is the editor is called 
simply : The Sower, Lower Gonial, Dudley, England. 

104 F. H. Drinkwatcr, Gabriel's Ave (London: Burns, Oates 
& Washbournc, 1936); id., Fourteen Catechism Plays (London: Burns, 
Oates, 1950). 



for the primary grades, and her approach to the child through 
the senses and through his personal activity have left their imprint 
on theorists for this grade level. Father John T. McMahon, 
weighing all the contributions that had been up to his time made, 
plunges for the project method, and favours the Perth Plan. 105 

American Catholics, acquainted with the contributions 
(or errors?) of John Dewey, early began to introduce the " learn 
by doing" principle into their schools. The unit was studied 
not only in its European progenitors but also in its American 
representatives. 106 The social educators were consulted on pro- 
blems which began to take on a new meaning in connection 
with education. Other European methodological contributions, 
stressing the importance of emotional as distinct from intel- 
lectual factors, were also adapted for the American public (state) 
school system. Thus, from all possible sources the present 
methodology of the Catholic school system and of the organi- 
zation which it had originated, the Confraternity of Christian 
Doctrine, have at their disposal the best that didactics, pedagogy 
and catechetics can offer. 

The catechetical situation in Italy 107 is entirely different. In 
1870 catechesis was suppressed in all public schools. Only in 1923 
was it again permitted and then only in the elementary schools. 
In Italy, however, no attempt has been made to set up a Catholic 
school system such as exists in the U.S.A., and with certain 

105 J. T. McMahon, Some Methods of Teaching Religion (London: 
Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1928), pp. 191-265. 

106 R. B. Raup, "The Unit of Instruction and Study" in Journal of 
Educational Method, Vol. VII (Dec, 1927), pp. 112-120; W. H. Burton, 
"The Unit Concept in Learning" in Educational Outlook, Vol. VII (May, 
1933), pp. 206-213; J. G. Umstattd, Secondary School Teaching (new ed.; 
Boston: Ginn & Co., 1944), pp. 135-181; A.H.Jones, et al, Principles 
of Unit Construction (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1939). 

107 M. Barbera, "L'insegnamento religioso elementare in Italia" in La 
Civilta Cattolica, Vol. 89 (1938) III, pp. 1-18; P. Moretta, "L'enseigne- 
ment de la religion en Italic" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 4 (1949), pp. 137-160. 



exceptions in Northern Italy, even after 1923 no effort has been 
made to improve catechesis in the public schools. In these schools, 
however, Bible History is generally taught to the children. Cate- 
chesis on the catechism is also given generally in the parish, and 
usually in church, but only in the time-honoured way. This type 
of catechesis is trying to procure for itself to a much greater 
extent the advantages which are inherent in a formal school 
system, and which are obtained by the methods employed in the 
schools themselves. For several decades now, competent authori- 
ties have developed fixed courses of study with progressive 
programmes and in ever increasing amounts literary aids of 
prime value. The training of the catechists has been sponsored 
by numerous catechetical Congresses. In more recent years 
Catholic Action has especially busied itself with catechetical 
work. Through its agencies it has enlisted and trained a great 
number of lay catechists as well as turned out publications of its 
own (for example, several volumes of catechetical drawings, 
etc.). In Italy, in order to awaken the interest of the children, 
catechetical contests have been held and prizes awarded. Both 
are held in high esteem. These contests ordinarily take place on 
the parish level, but also on the deanery and diocesan levels, 
and have been elaborated into a Feast of the Catechism. 

The attempts which had been made to exchange information 
on experience gained in catechetical work beyond the limits of 
national boundaries, reached their zenith in the "World Catecheti- 
cal Congress' ' , held in Rome, under the chairmanship of the Cardi- 
nal Prefect of the Congregation of the Council, in 1950. 108 This 
Congress afforded a survey in which the participants examined 
the goals which are everywhere the same and discussed the 
tasks at every age-level, from infants to adults, shared the 

108 "Report of the International Catechetic Congress held at Rome 
10-1 4th October, 1950" m Lumen Vitae, Vol. 5 (1950), pp. 639-644; J. D. 
Crichton, "The Church's Mind and Catechetics" in The Sower, No. 189 



methodological advances which have been made, sketched 
present needs and also noted the great differences in the circum- 
stances for, and in the possibilities of, catechetical work. The 
following countries were mentioned as having school systems 
favourable to catechetical methods : Ireland, Spain, Austria and 

The special nature of catechetical activity, which must be 
closely allied to given circumstances, suggests that only the 
most general ordinances can emanate from the highest ecclesias- 
tical authorities; whereas the more concrete particularizations 
must come either from individual bishops or from national 
conferences of bishops. 

With the advent of compulsory school attendance it has be- 
come the duty of bishops to prescribe textbooks and curricula, as 
well as to watch with a critical eye the efforts at reform. The 
Council of Trent, as we have seen, gave important directives 
for the catechesis of children, and the Popes of the succeeding 
centuries have expressed their concern in practical ways for 
the same objective. Recent attempts to fashion a universal 
catechism have not been successful. Whatever has been done 
since Trent in the way of achieving uniformity, and whatever 
enactments have been framed for the fostering of catechesis 
were compiled and condensed in the Code of Canon Law (1917). 
In three different sections the Code deals with the problem of 
catechesis: in a section concerning the duties of the parish 
priest (can. 467, cf. can. 336), in a special section devoted to 
catechetical training (can. 1329-1336), and in the portion dealing 
with the school system, in which the demands for a competent 
catechesis are raised and precisely described for those schools 
which are attended by Catholic children (can. 1373, 1381 f.). 

(Oct., 1953), pp. 91-98; SCC, Summa Relationum (Rome: Cancelleria 
Apostolica, 1950). 



In 1923 in Rome by order of Pope Pius XI the officium cate- 
chisticum was set up as a department of the Congregation of 
the Council and as the court of final appeal for catechetical 
problems. A whole series of guiding principles was drawn up 
by this office in the decree Provido sane in 1935. 109 These 
principles were formulated chiefly for those countries which are 
without regular catechesis in their schooh. They deal with those 
organizations of laymen cooperating in the w T ork of the Con- 
fraternity of Christian Doctrine, with parochial catechesis for 
children, with the Feast of the Catechism, with religious 
instruction for adults, with catechetical offices and departments 
in the various dioceses, with the inspection of catechesis, and 
with the formation of catechists. 110 

6. The Catechetical Movement in England 

The course followed by religious instruction in England from 
the Reformation onwards was not substantially different from 
that of the Continent and may be followed chiefly, though not 
exclusively, through the various catechisms that were published 
from the sixteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth. The 
first of these, written by Dr. Vaux of Manchester, was entitled 
A Catechisme or Christian Doctrine necessarie for Children and 
ignor ante people . . ,, 11] and the author, who was already a refugee, 
says that it owes something to the Catechism of St. Peter Ca- 
nisius. It is closer to the medieval scheme than the subsequent 
ones, keeping the lists of items so much beloved of medieval 
catechists: for example, "'The Five Senses: How they arc to be 

109 AAS, Vol. 27 (1935), pp. 145-154; cf. C.Louis (Editor), Essays and 
Documents on the Confraternity oj Christian Doctrine. St. Meinrad Essays, 
Vol. 11, No. 4 (May, 1956), pp. 42-56. 

110 G. Gotzel, "ZeitgeniaBeWertung der Katechese" in KBl, Vol. 62 
(1936), pp. 193-198. 

111 Ed. T. Law, Chctham Soc, New Series, 4, 1885. 



used." There is very little reflexion of the current controversies. 
The book that spanned centuries was the so-called Douai 
Catechism (its connexion with the college is doubtful) which, 
with its Abridgement, went on being published until the end of 
the Penal Days. It was based on the catechisms of St. Peter 
Canisius and St. Robert Bellarmine. The immediate ancestor 
of the present catechism was the little book attributed to Bishop 
Richard Challoner which everyone agrees was his. It is called 
An Abridgement of Christian Doctrine. Revised and Enlarged by 
R. C, St. Omer, 1772. 112 

It will be seen that religious instruction was dominated by the 
question-and-answer catechism and when we examine the con- 
tent of the instruction we see that it was strongly flavoured by 
the controversial exigencies of the time. The rigours of this kind 
of instruction were mitigated by the intense religious life of the 
small Catholic communities scattered over England and the 
Continent and by the books of devotion that appeared all 
through the period. Of these Challoner's Garden of the Soul and 
Meditations were the best known, and both contained solid 
instruction which parents will have passed on to their children. 
The piety of Catholics during the Penal times could be described 
as solid, both because it was based on doctrine and because it was 
markedly scriptural. The biblical flavour of the Meditations and 
the many psalms and "sentences" in the Garden of the Soul are 
evidence of this. 

Yet even so Challoner's little book, perhaps because he too 
intended it for "Children and ignorante people", was not so 

112 It is a very rare book and will be found only at Oscott College 
and St. Edmund's Ware. The Oscott copy (Pamphlet Section, post-1620) 
is a small book, bound in vellum, of 32 pages. I was able to consult it 
thanks to the courtesy of the college authorities. For a fuller treatment 
of Vaux and Challoner, consult J.D.Crichton, "Religious Education in 
England in the Penal Days" in Sloyan, op. cit., pp. 72-90. 



abstract as its nineteenth successor became. The answer to the 
question (which may be regarded as a key question in any cate- 
chism) "What is God", was "He is the Maker and Lord of 
Heaven and Earth". In the manuscript another hand has added 
"God is a spirit the Creator and Sovereign Lord of all things", 
and thus prepared the way for the difficult answer which still 
stands in the English catechism: "God is the supreme spirit 
who alone exists of himself and is infinite in all his perfections." 

This catechism, which came to be known as the Penny Cate- 
chism, and which is the one still in use, was revised in the 
nineteenth century after the National Synods and gradually 
brought up to date (for example, the answers on the Immaculate 
Conception and the Infallibility of the Pope which does not 
figure in Challoner's catechism). It was then, it would seem, 
that the catechism acquired its rather abstract tone and the some- 
times tiresome rhetorical jingles that have since become so 
familiar to English Catholics. 

All during the latter part of the nineteenth century the socio- 
logical and educational picture was changing. Large numbers 
of Catholics, mostly Irish immigrants, were moving into the 
large towns, compulsory education was introduced in 1870 and 
great numbers of Catholic children had to attend school. The 
old domestic bond was broken, the small "Sunday School" or 
their equivalent classes came to an end — except perhaps in the 
dwindling parishes of the countryside — and children from the 
age of five were confronted with a catechism which for the most 
part was adult in language and too abstract for their grasp. Still, 
Catholic parishes remained remarkably homogeneous and 
rather shut in on themselves, so that there was a strong com- 
munity life that helped the child to live his religion. The system 
seemed to work. Schools belonged to the parish who had to 
pay the teachers salaries, often infinitesimal, and the priest played 
a big part in the running of the school. With the Education Act 



of 1902 and the raising of the teachers' status and a greater 
control by public bodies, there came a certain change which laid 
the foundations for the existing system. Since 1902 there has 
been a revolution in educational outlook and method that was 
bound to affect the teaching of religion in Catholic schools. 

7. The Beginnings of Reform in England 

The state of religious instruction in England at the beginning 
of this century was very much what it was elsewhere in the 
Church. The printed catechism was supreme and the only 
teaching method was learning by heart. The more gifted 
teacher made some attempt at explanation but the system 
was vitiated by the imposition of difficult and abstract answers 
on small children. Educationally speaking, the cart was very 
effectively being put before the horse. What was peculiar to the 
English situation was that at that time Catholics were a very 
small minority in the country, very conscious of the influence of 
Protestantism everywhere in public life. This gave a certain 
rigidity of outlook in the field of catechetics, and the need for 
fixed and very clear statements of doctrine was felt to be all- 
important in the face of the vague yet dissolvent heretical 
teaching that permeated the atmosphere. 

It is not surprising that change came slowly. As teaching 
methods in secular subjects improved, many teachers and some 
priests felt the need for a more adequate way of presenting the 
faith to children. The first signs of a change were to have been 
observed after the decree of Pope St. Pius X (Quam singulari) 
which admitted young children to holy Communion. Although 
once a change of emphasis had been made, and many, both teachers 
and priests, collaborated, it must be set down as a matter of 
historical fact that catechetical reform in England began with 
the work of one priest. Francis H. Drinkwater (now Canon) 
was ordained in that year and he himself has recorded the 



beginnings of his work: "In 1910, when I began work in my 
first parish (as an assistant priest), Pope Pius X had just issued his 
decree admitting the seven-year-olds to first communion, and 
we were all busy trying to prepare these little boys and girls so 
that their first confession and first holy communion should be a 
spiritual and psychological reality. In this task, and with those 
children, the catechism was evidently not going to be any help, 
so we left it aside and learned how to teach them what was neces- 
sary in their own simple language. I always look back to this 
decree of Pius X as the real beginning of catechetical reform, for 
it forced us all back on the psychological realities of childhood. 
There were none of those helpful little handbooks to make 
everything easy for us in those days. Moreover, although we 
did not realize it at the time, Pius X's decree made suitable pro- 
vision for the later stages of childhood also. After first commun- 
ion (said the Pope) the whole catechism was to be learned, but 
'gradually, step by step, in the measure of the capacity' of the 
learners." 113 

This testimony is important since it shows clearly the origin 
of the reform — the child, his needs and capacity — and the lines 
it was to follow. There was the constant effort for reality, one 
might almost say realism, in the presentation of truths to be 
learned, a persevering search into the psychological needs of the 
child and a determination to link instruction with the organic 
growth of the child. " Little and often" has been the slogan of 
the work of Canon Drinkwater which came to be known as 
the "Sower Scheme". 

The war of 1914 brought all this work to an end, except that 

113 F. H. Drinkwater, Educational Essays (London, 1951), pp. 
95-96. In a footnote he continues: "The present Holy Father has 
echoed the same requirement of Pius X, when he said to priests instruct- 
ing children, ' See that what you say to them is solid, clear, interesting, 
alive, warm, and adjusted to their capacity, and their spiritual needs'.'' 



it gave Father Drinkwater, who became a chaplain in the army, 
an opportunity to observe at first hand the effects of the tradi- 
tional system when put to the supreme test. He found that what 
the soldiers had learned of the abstract formulas had been for- 
gotten for the most part, but that the practical things like the 
sacraments, were still familiar even to those who had lapsed. 114 
This influenced the next stage. Religion is not only something 
to learn but something to be lived, and every effort must be 
made to insert religious instruction into life, into the life of the 
Church (hence the liturgy), into the life of the family, and so 
far as possible it must be a preparation for life in the world. 
Writing in 1933 in answer to questioners who wanted to know 
what the "Sower Scheme" stood for, Father Drinkwater said, 
"The Aim is to help the schools to produce good practising 
Catholics in after life." 115 A simple aim, not a very exalted aim 
it may be said, but a fundamental one. 

With his return to civilian life he determined to do what he 
could to change the existing system which, he was convinced, 
was inadequate to the needs of ordinary Catholic men and 
women living the hard life of industrial England. 

His first act in 1921 was to found a small monthly review 
called The Sower, which by 1925 had been reduced to a quarterly. 
Always completely independent financially, it was able to give 
expression to views that were not always popular. In an early 
issue Father Drinkwater gave a sketch of what became known 
as the "Sower Scheme", in which he assigned the catechism to 
the Juniors with the easiest answers to be learned first. This 
scheme was given a trial when in 1922 Father Drinkwater was 
appointed diocesan inspector of religious instruction in the 
archdiocese of Birmingham. 

At this point it is convenient to abandon a purely chrono- 
logical account and to take a different perspective. 

114 Ibil, p. 96. U5 Ibid., p. 68. 



The first thing that needs saying is that what for so long was 
known as "The Sower Scheme" was not an imposed system, 
itself the result of merely theoretical planning in some educational 
laboratory. It was not all thought out first and then tried 
out on unfortunate children. Its point of departure was, as we 
have seen, the child and his needs and his nature, and this 
original intuition has controlled and guided all the develop- 
ment that has come since. The " Scheme" (which is far too rigid 
a word to describe it) has undergone a growth that can only 
be described as a natural one. As the needs and psychology of 
the child have been progressively better understood, so has the 
scheme grown. And although one man was at the origin of the 
whole thing, he rapidly attracted a whole group of workers of 
various sorts who made valuable contributions in the course of 
years. The compilers of the international survey of religious 
instruction, Oil en est I } enseignement religieux?, describing the 
Sower Scheme in 1937, wrote as follows: "It is not the work of 
one man but of a group. It is a real family, wide open to life, in 
which skilled collaborators work together in complete sincerity, 
frankness and courage" (p. 286). Again, in another place, they 
remark that it moves gradually and that it refuses to offer either 
to teachers or pupils the predigested or the ready-made. Father 
Drinkwater and his collaborators, they say, have created an 
entirely new atmosphere in which fresh air and optimism 
abound (p. 276). 

From the beginning it was seen that religious instruction is a 
good deal more than the imparting of a certain amount of 
doctrine. First, the child is a living, growing creature and 
demands activity. Hence the emphasis on life, not only in the 
sense that the child takes in knowledge through living but in the 
sense that the whole purpose of instruction is to form him for 
life after he has left school. Hence, say the same writers, in 
the "Sower Scheme" the child is not considered as an end but 



as a middle term, a "growing thing" whose completed form 
is the adult. 

Further, the child is meant to live the life of the Church both 
at school and afterwards. Hence the need to make the liturgy 
a living thing to him, and it is in this way that instruction in the 
liturgy and so far as circumstances allow, the practice of it in 
the parish church, has come to play so large a part in the scheme. 

With all this there was the constant effort to infuse life into 
the instruction itself, and this in two directions. First, it was 
realized that words are of paramount importance. It was not 
just a matter of avoiding "hard" words or "big" words but of 
finding life-bearing words, words that would match the con- 
crete thought-processes of young children, words that would 
appeal to their imagination. For this reason there was a strong 
emphasis on Scripture which, as the aid books which were 
written subsequently show, was used as one of the principal 
means for conveying doctrine. Hymns too and rhymed verses 
have all played their part in the same effort. Secondly, since 
children themselves are active, lively creatures, their activity 
was harnessed in various ways : drama, and classroom dramatiz- 
ation, have played a big part in the scheme ; and what was early 
recognized as an original invention was the activity eventually 
known as " Home-made catechisms", in which children collected 
phrases, sentences, and prayers and illustrated the whole either 
with their own or ready-made pictures. This was the con- 
tribution of Miss A. M. Scarre and has been described as follows : 
"The idea was simple but of infinite application. Each child 
literally makes his own book; he composes it, writes it, illustrates 
it, according to the capacity of his age, with cut-out pictures or 
his own drawings, or with his personal reflexions. This book is 
his own, and the religion he finds there is his own also." 116 

It was these and similar ideas that were propagated in The 

116 Ou en est V enseignement religieux? , p. 286. 



Sower year after year and it was thus that the scheme gradually 
attracted followers long before it became official. It was through 
the review that the scheme became known far and wide, and 
the reactions to what appeared in it aroused a good deal of 
opposition, especially in the early days. Indeed, it must be 
stated that there has always been and still is a certain amount 
of opposition, and by no means all are convinced of the truth 
of its basic assumptions or of its methods. Yet there has been a 
steady advance, and in the change of climate in these matters 
that has come about in the last thirty years the Sower has 
played a leading part. 

The Sower, which circulates over the whole Catholic world, 
has undoubtedly been the main means for making known the 
aims, principles and ideals of the "Sower Scheme". This, 
with Father Drinkwater's innumerable books, brought his 
ideas to the knowledge of all engaged in Catholic education. 
There was a peaceful penetration of the Training Colleges, 
many of which have become the most convinced and active 
supporters of the Scheme. A reform in the examinations for 
teachers met with no opposition. In 1928 the system of religious 
examinations in grammar and convent schools was overhauled 
and Father Drinkwater played his part in this. Two courses 
corresponding to the Higher Certificate and the School Certifi- 
cate were arranged, the latter based on Christ and the Church 
and the former on the traditional apologetics, with, in the second 
year, some treatment of Catholic sociology. Both these schemes 
are again under review, as the years have revealed certain 

But undoubtedly the main sphere of Father Drinkwater's work 
has been in what used to be called elementary schools which 
are now divided into Primary and Secondary Modern. Here 
the need was greatest and here the reform has been most bene- 



When Father Drinkwatcr became a diocesan inspector in 1922 
he put his ideas into practice throughout the diocese with what 
he called the "Optional Scheme" — teachers were left free to 
adopt k or not as they pleased. The learning by heart of the 
catechism was retained in the junior school but every effort was 
made to see that it was done intelligently and well. Eight years 
experience showed, that the catechism for juniors was premature 
and when in 1929, with the active and whole-hearted support 
of Archbishop Williams, the Sower Scheme became the official 
scheme of religious instruction in the archdiocese, the learning of 
the printed catechism was allocated to the senior children. This 
apparently small change was in fact revolutionary (and one 
not accepted without protest) since it freed the junior school 
from a task that was beyond its capacity and left the field open 
for new methods and a fresh approach to the teaching of small 
children. In addition, the senior children came to the printed 
catechism for the first time and were able to look upon it with 
fresh eyes. The catechism course could be more thorough as well 
as more adult. With this change came the provision of aid-books 
for teachers, of which the best known are Teaching the Catechism, 
a commentary on the whole catechism, and Doctrine for the 
Juniors which provides lesson-material, with an emphasis on 
the practical side, on the whole of Christian doctrine for 
children below the age of eleven. Later, Religious Teaching 
for Young Cliilrfren by S.N.D. was adopted for the infant's 

With all this there was a steady development of all the other 
features of the Scheme, an increasing realization of the possibili- 
ties and limits of drama in teaching religion, of the importance 
of the liturgy and of Holy Scripture. A little book like Twelve 
and After intended for children over twelve, showed that 
Father Drinkwater had anticipated by many years the importance 
of presenting the faith as the continuing story of God's dealings 



with man, or what they call on the continent, Sacred History, 
in which Old and New Testaments are viewed in one perspective, 
and into which are inserted Christ and his saving acts, the Church 
and her life and liturgy. 

The further stages of the development of the Scheme can 
be traced in the following publications. By 1935 the full cate- 
chism had been found to be unwieldy even for the senior 
children and in 1936 the Abbreviated Catechism was introduced 
with official approval of the Archbishop. This telescoped some 
answers and omitted a section of the catechism which has to 
do with Christian living. It was envisaged that this material 
should be linked to lessons that dealt with doctrine. More 
recently, to meet the needs of children who stay at school until 
they are fifteen, an Abbreviated Catechism with Explanations 
was introduced (1950) in which the explanations really explain 
in simple language the main truths of the Faith. It is completed 
with a brief view of Christian history and an appendix on the 
liturgical year. 

A long-standing complaint had been that the scheme for 
juniors was too vague and that the teachers did not know quite 
what was required of them. To meet this a series of questions 
which were to be used by the teachers and intended to guide 
them was devised for both infants and juniors. More recently 
still, the scheme for juniors has been worked out in greater detail 
so that the head-teacher has less difficulty in working out a 
syllabus for the whole school. Now a term-by-term syllabus is 
provided, with continual references to the aid-books. It follows 
the liturgical year and within each year the three terms bear 
some relation to the actions of the Three Persons of the Trinity. 
The Primary syllabus thus seems to be complete and it is not 
envisaged that any great changes will have to be made in it. 

The situation regarding the Secondary Modern syllabus is not 
so satisfactory and Canon Drinkwater notes as follows: "This 



(the syllabus for children from 11 to 15) never pretended to be 
anything but an arrangement for coping with the existing 
national catechism. It is an 'end-on' syllabus (the first year 
Creed, the second Commandments, the third Sacraments) 
which has many disadvantages; and the Abbreviated Catechism, 
shortened as it is from the national, is just as technical, abstract, 
definition seeking and unscriptural. However, the Secondary 
Modern schools have now come into existence, and the bishops 
are revising the national catechism, and thus there is an oppor- 
tunity to revise this part of the syllabus. One would hope for a 
short catechism in more scriptural language, a catechism which 
might be all covered every year and welded with scripture and 
history. Thus an ideal syllabus might go something like this: 

First Year: Jewish preparation for the Saviour; along with 
the whole catechism studied in the light of the Old Testament. 

Second Year : Life of Christ, from the Gospels ; along with 
the whole catechism again, but this time viewed as flowing from 
our Lord's teaching. 

Third Year : History of the Church, from Pentecost until now; 
and again the whole catechism, studied as the summary of the 
Church's mission and community-life. 

Fourth Year: the Christ-life (both communal and personal) 
for the twentieth century; once more the whole catechism, 
considered as a guide-book to spiritual life and conduct." 

It cannot be disguised that though the so-called Sowei 
Scheme has influenced educational thinking and practice, it has 
never been wholly endorsed by any other diocese in England. 
There is a very general measure of agreement that the catechism- 
answers should be explained before being memorized, though 
it is a matter of dispute when this process should start. So far 
no other diocese except Birmingham has postponed it until 
after the age of eleven. In 1944 the Westminster archdiocese 



produced a scheme which has been widely adopted. In this the 
bulk of the catechism has to be learnt from eight years onwards. 
The archdiocese of Liverpool has its own scheme and both 
these schemes are at present under review. Both these dioceses 
have issued good handbooks of Suggestions to Teachers, though 
the aid-books of the Birmingham scheme are widely used 
throughout the country. 

Although the above account of catechetical reform in Eng- 
land has concentrated on the work of Canon Drinkwater, it 
would give a false impression if one did not add that many 
have been concerned in that reform. Innumerable teachers and 
the heads and lecturers in training colleges have made their 
contribution in one way or another, and if there is a great 
awareness in England at the moment of the urgency of religious 
teaching, it must be attributed to them as well as to the pioneer 
work of the Sower Scheme. This concern for the right kind of 
teaching was reflected among other places in the special number 
of the Downside Review (Autumn, 1955) which considered the 
whole matter. One point of special interest was the emphasis 
on the instruction of adult Catholics which normally should 
be done at Mass and for which a national catechism should 
be the principal means. This is but one small indication in this 
country of the union between catechetics and liturgy which 
existed in the early Church and which is having such fruitful 
results on the continent. With the rapid development of a 
Catholic middle-class and the ever increasing number who are 
attending universities, this matter of the continued instruction 
of lay-people at a level equal to that of their professional studies, 
will be one that will occupy the minds of Church authorities in 
the years to come. 117 

117 See also Appendix IV. 




In this chapter we shall discuss two questions: Who should be 
a catechist? How should the catechist be trained? 

1. As the historical review has shown, it was not always a 
priest who gave the children their religious training. What 
principles should as a consequence be enforced in connection 
with the person of the catechist? 

Whenever there has been a question of perfecting the initi- 
ation into religion, which the family gave, by more profound 
instruction, the need has always been met by the clergy. And 
this is generally the case today for the sole reason that religious 
instruction must be given within the framework of the general 
formation which is the goal of compulsory education. Thus, 
it devolves upon the Church to appoint her ministers for 
this task; for she has received the commission to preach the 
Gospel to all nations from generation to generation (Mt. 28, 
19 £) ; this also includes and implies the training of children. 
The Church baptized the child; she ought also to provide 
for the unfolding of the life of grace which originated in 
Baptism. Just as long as the parents, the primary educators 
of the children by virtue of the natural law, are able to per- 
form their task of imparting a religious education to their 
offspring, just so long does the Church avail herself of them 
as her ministers. They do not need any special commission; 
the office of parent based on Christian marriage enshrines this 
commission. 1 Whenever the parents can no longer discharge this 

1 CIC can. 1113 (On the duties of parents towards their children) 
and can. 1020 (Bridal examination). 



task, the Church must send her ambassadors. The ambassadors 
ought to be priests, primarily the pastor together with the 
parochial clergy who are assigned to him for the care of souls. 

This is the viewpoint which is expressed in the Code of 
Canon Law: "The pastor is obliged ... to employ the greatest 
diligence in training the children in the Catholic religion" (can. 
467; cf. can. 1330f.). This task is also incumbent upon the priest 
catechists of the kind who, for example, in Austria, are nomi- 
nated and appointed to serve in the larger and more important 
schools by the civil authorities along with other members 
of the teaching personnel. At the high school level and beyond 
this task is confided to professors of religion. Both these and 
the others are ministers of the Church (at least in a wdde sense), 
and as such ought not only to feel but also to assume responsibi- 
lity for at least the children who are entrusted to their care. It 
is certainly significant that for some time now they have been 
assigned to parishes. By such an arrangement they are enabled 
to preserve the correct notion of their vocation to teach; and 
they avoid the danger not only of becoming secularized person- 
ally but also of fulfilling the obligations of their teaching 
office in a purely intellectual and theoretical fashion by concen- 
trating their efforts on instruction. 

This double danger is the reason why ecclesiastical authorities 
have frequently adopted a sceptical attitude toward catechists 
ex professo. We must, however, not overlook the great advantages 
which are implied in the fact that a priest can devote himself 
entirely to the care of children and to catechesis : he is better 
able to prepare for his classes undisturbed, to master the literature 
of his profession and in this way better to enter into the spirit 
of his office. The improvement in catechetical method effected 
at the beginning of this century would never have been possible 
without the contribution which was made by these catechists 
ex professo. 



In addition to the parochial or diocesan clergy who devote 
themselves to the work of catechesis, members of religious 
orders can also be called upon by the bishop. He may, if neces- 
sary, invite them to become teachers of Christian doctrine to 
adults (can. 1333f.). 

Canons 1333 and 1334 permit the pastor to employ clerics, 
religious, both brothers and priests, and laymen and women, to 
assist in the work of religious instruction. The assistance which 
they give may be either as teachers in the schools or as catechists 
in the parish classes. Before engaging in this work the Ordinary 
may prescribe that they undergo an examination and receive 
his approval. This seems to be indicated by can. 1336 and by 
recent decrees of the Holy See. 2 In the United States the majority 
of teachers in the Catholic elementary schools, and to a large 
extent also in Confraternity Centers are religious, nuns or 
sisters. Without their assistance pastors would be almost power- 
less to fulfill their duty toward their children, and without them 
the Catholic school system could not long continue in existence. 

The Church may also commission the laity for the work of 
catechesis (can. 1333). They are baptized and confirmed and 
should give testimony of Christ. To preach in church is 
forbidden them (can. 1342), but not to give catechesis. On the 
level of catechesis in the school, teachers, both men and women, 
may be entrusted with this task. In those Catholic schools 
which correspond most precisely to Church legislation, it is 
considered to be a natural arrangement in cases of necessity to 
permit lay teachers to take over the teaching of religion. In 
many dioceses in Germany it is an old tradition that the lay 
teacher be entrusted with teaching Bible History and the Bible 
itself, and the priest with instructions on the catechism. 

Especially in the lower grades, Church authorities gladly 

2 R. J. Jansen, Canonical Provisions for Catechetical Instruction, Disserta- 
tion (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1937), p. 44. 



make use of lay personnel whenever there is a shortage of 
priest catechists or whenever the priests must be relieved of 
such teaching to enable them to assume more pressing duties 
(e. g., pastoral care of youth). In such instances it is chiefly 
women instructresses and educators who are called upon, 
because psychologically they are closer to the children. If the 
entire instruction of these younger children, religion included, is 
confided to one person in this way, this represents a distinct 
advantage which more than outweighs any eventual dis- 
advantages in those classes in which the instruction should shun 
all fragmentation (which is tantamount to departmentalization) 
in order to be as all-embracing as possible (themes drawn from 
their areas of interest, in which their knowledge is enhanced 
and their skills exercised, for example, school, Church). Lay 
personnel is also pressed into service sometimes for smaller 
groups which require special catechesis: for children who are 
prevented from attending class because of sickness, for children 
whose First Communion has been delayed, and for converts. In 
big cities, especially where the number of priests is all too small 
in proportion to the population the full use of lay catechists has 
become a "must" for well-planned and well-executed pastoral 
work. 3 The need for lay catechists is at its greatest naturally in 
those countries in which a majority of the children attend 
neutral (or interdenominational) state schools (called "public 
schools" in the United States). In such places the children can to 
all intents and purposes be brought together only by means of 
laymen who either look after their welfare or who at least see 
to it that they attend catecheses in their respective parishes. 

3 In Vienna (1949/50) of a total 7,200 weekly instructions given to 
children, 1977 were given by laymen, ChPBl, Vol. 63 (1950), p. 193. 
About the same time, of the 1,100 catechists who were in active service, 
268 were laymen, for twenty-four of whom this was a full-time 



For this reason the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, an 
organization of lay catechists, is strongly developed in countries 
such as France and the United States. 4 

A well-planned mobilization of the laity presupposes, as a 
matter of course, a suitable training. To achieve this the Chancery 
of the Archdiocese of Vienna, for example, has, since 1926, offered 
a two year theological course. The graduates from this course 
receive a missio canonica for catechesis, after they have passed a 
prescribed examination. In other centres of Catholicism the 
ancient Christian ideal of a catechetical school has again been 
revived. In the U.S.A. the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine 
as well as certain religious orders and congregations have 
established such schools for the training of lay teachers. 5 The 

4 In the archdiocese of Paris, for example, 8,000 lay catechists were 
at work, Orbis catholicus, Vol. 3 (1949/50), p. 297. In Mexico City it is 
reported that 2,143 lay catechists gave instructions to 48,000 children 
every Saturday and Sunday, Klerushlatt, Vol. 84 (Salzburg, 1951), p. 123; 
E. V.O'Hara, "The Parish Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in the Uni- 
ted States" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 6 (1951), pp. 363-376. But in the U.S.A. a 
distinction must be made between the preparation of Catholic teachers 
for the Catholic school system and of teachers for Confraternity work. 
In 1955 the Catholic school system was staffed by 135,406 teachers and 
professors, e. g., 93,518 Sisters, 27,819 lay teachers, 8,995 priests (full 
time), 4,168 Brothers; cf. Official Catholic Directory (New York: P. J. 
Kenedy, 1956), see Appendix. For Confraternity schools, e. g., in the 
diocese of Detroit, 517 lay teachers took part in the programme for 1950: 
J. C. Ryan, "Preparation of Lay Teachers of Religion: A Survey" in 
Proceedings, 1951, pp. 99-105; cf. also Ellamay Horan, "Developing 
Lay Catechists" in The Confraternity Comes of Age, pp. 41-56; T.Frain, 
"A Survey of the Lay Catechists Teaching Public School Religion" 
in The Catholic Educational Review (April, 1955), pp. 238-254; A. N. 
Fuerst, Systematic Teaching of Religion, 2 vols. (New York: Benziger 
Brothers), Vol. I (c. 1939), pp. 115-130. 

5 Among others, e. g. , Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart, Towson, Mary- 
land, The Society of Missionary Catechists of Our Lady of Victory, The Reli- 
gious of the Cenacle, The Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine, and Sisters 
oj the Holy Family; cf. also: Sr. M. Borromeo, "Religious Communities 
Prepare Prospective Lay Teachers" in Proceedings, 1951, pp. 432-437. 



length of time varies with the dioceses and with the institutes 
to which the training is allied. In some instances a course lasting 
three years has been prescribed. 6 Methodology is represented by 
the current practices in the schools of the community where the 
teacher training centre is located or by the methods with which 
the teaching staff of these schools are best acquainted by their 
own preparatory work, for example, in a Catholic university. 
This missio canonica (canonical mission) which is accorded by the 
bishops is usually demanded wherever and whenever there is a 
question of planned religious instruction for children outside 
the family. 7 Through this missio such religious teaching becomes 
official ecclesiastical catechesis. Those who have earned such a 
missio should occupy the most prominent posts among those 
who help in this most important task of the cure of souls; they 
share in the teaching office of the Church. In those instances 
in which the teachers lack such an official commission, the reli- 
gious instructions or religious exhortations which are given 
to the children remain a purely private activity, despite the fact 
that it is one of the noblest works of Christian charity. 

The normal solution, that is, the normal catechetical situation 
insofar as conditions permit, is and remains the priest catechist. 
Granted equal pedagogical ability, the priest catechist will 

6 George Johnson, Director, "Religious Instruction" (Washington: 
NCWC,Dept. ofEd.,1931),pp.l6-17; EllamayHoran, op.cit., pp. 51-53; 
E. V. O'Hara, Mid-Century Survey, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine in 
the U.S.A. (Washington: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, 1951). 

7 R. J. Jansen, op. cit., p. 44; C. Augustine, A Commentary on Canon 
Law (St. Louis: Herder, 1921), pp. 341-342, commenting on can. 1328; 
cf. also Council of Trent, sess. XXIII, de sacr. ordinis, can. 7; C. H. Boffa, 
Canonical Provisions for Catholic Schools (Washington: Catholic Univ. 
of America Press, 1939), pp. 165-166; Marg. Schmid, " Theologische 
Kurse fur Laien " in KBl, Vol. 72 (1947), pp. 265-271; J.Colomb,"Une 
ecole de formation de catechistes a Lyon" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 2 (1947), 
pp. 343-349. 



always be more highly esteemed than other catechists. In 
addition he is able, simply by the fact that he is a priest, to effect 
a union between the school and Church, between catechesis 
and divine worship which will facilitate in the future 
a living contact between priest and his pastoral work. A 
priest should take care of the special instructions for First Con- 
fession and First Holy Communion and of the catechesis be- 
fore graduation, if possible, but in general, of catechesis in the 
upper grades. 8 

2. In pedagogical literature we read a great deal about the 
ideal type or the prototype of the teacher and educator. From 
this we are enabled to sketch a portrait of an ideal catechist as 
the end product toward which our efforts should be bent to 
achieve. Innate talent and acquired proficiency mutually comple- 
ment each other. Just as there is such a thing as innate talent, 
so there is also an innate gift for catechesis, catechetical charism, 
such as was bestowed upon the great pioneers of catechetics, men, 
for example, like Augustin Gruber or Gustav Mey. But such 
a gift is truly a rarity. Ordinarily a person must work hard to 
acquire the skills and the knowledge of a good catechist. As 
we know, the catechist is entrusted with the task of forming 
children in the image of Christ, and of awakening within them 
the kingdom of God. This is ultimately a matter of divine 
grace, but it must employ human resources. 

Just as in general we differentiate between two components 
of the pedagogical eros, love of the object upon which pedagogi- 
cal activity focuses and love of the pupil (Eduard Spranger), 
so on a still higher plane the ideal catechist ought to have two 
characteristics which are fundamental: he must be filled with 
holy zeal for the kingdom of God in which he collaborates ; 

8 G. Gotzel, KBl, Vol. 63 (1937), p. 324; cf. W. H. Russell, "Who 
May Teach Religion? " in The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 44 (Feb., 
1946), pp. 78-86. 



and he must be filled with a selfless and reverential love for 
the child upon whose salvation he is commissioned to labour. 
He ought to be, as has been said, to the youngest a mother; a 
father to the elder; a friend of the adolescent. Only in this 
way will the other desirable and more technical abilities be made 
fruitful for catechesis : a certain nimbleness of the imagination 
and a certain gift for oral presentation as well as an ability 
for keeping under surveillance all that takes place in the 
class during the course of the instruction (the distributive 
attention in contrast to the concentrated attention of the scien- 

In a priestly vocation the aspirant will have, at least to 
a certain extent, both of these fundamental endowments, 
especially the first. Anyone who is not inflamed with this love 
of the kingdom of God should not become a priest. 

The second characteristic, too should be inherent in the 
priestly vocation: the aspirant resolves to labour for the 
salvation of souls. We are thus enabled to affirm that every 
genuine priest (and every genuine religious) possesses the basic 
talents required for catechesis. It is with this in mind that 
Hirscher wrote: "A genuine enthusiasm is an ample substitute 
for what thou mayest have received from nature only to a 
limited degree." 9 But this original endowment must be strength- 
ened and increased by personal effort, by a truly pious life, 
by study and practice. 

It should be self-evident that the catechist be well-versed 
in theology, and also to a certain extent in kindred subjects, 
with which schools are concerned. This should hold true espe- 
cially in the case of religion teachers in secondary schools and 
beyond. It is important that the future catechist (priest, nun or 
layman) keep alive a definite and lively interest in theology. 

9 Hirscher, Katechetik (3rd ed.), p. 724. 



Only by so doing will he be able to give his catechesis a personal 
touch and to offer it in various and interesting forms. Besides 
scientific works on theology, the catechist can find many 
valuable hints in those popular books on theology which are 
written for purposes of apologetics. The reading of catecheses 
in printed form will also prove useful for him ; even their direct 
use in the classroom is not forbidden him. Whereas theorists 
in general warn preachers not to employ printed sermons ver- 
batim, because the sermon should be to a great extent the pro- 
duct of their own personal effort and should reflect their prayer- 
ful reactions to conditions here and now, printed catecheses can, 
however, serve very well as models. In them the catechist may 
find perhaps the best development of some precise and limited 
topic for the special group which he is instructing. The catechist 
should not, however, be satisfied simply with such " ready- 
made goods". In fact, he should not be content even with 
some happy formulations of his own, otherwise he would soon 
become repetitious and the pupils, especially in the upper grades, 
would quickly sense his strict adherence to stock phrases and 
their interest would soon falter. 

Theoretical preparation for the work of catechesis takes for 
granted the study of catechetics which, as a pedagogy of religion, 
summarizes pertinent chapters both of secular pedagogy, and 
current secular didactics, offers an introduction to the nature 
of the catechetical task, and furnishes the results of catechetical 
experience gathered over past generations. Such a thorough- 
going formation is necessary, because today catechesis is 
practically synonymous with compulsory catechesis given 
in school. The catechist must not be found wanting in 
methodology when compared to his well-trained colleagues in 
the secular branches. The reading of some good catechetical 
magazine will also contribute greatly to his further develop- 
ment; it will keep him abreast of the best achievements that 



have been made in this field, and will be a link with the theolog- 
ical studies which lie behind him. 

That he may be fully fitted for the task which he will assume, 
the catechist ought to avail himself of any practice teaching 
which might come his way. Under this category belong: as- 
sistance at catecheses given by a talented catechist; one or two 
trial catecheses, by which he could not only overcome his first 
shyness but also could become acquainted with any deficiencies 
which might become apparent either in the method he uses or 
in his training as such. In any case, during the years in the semi- 
nary it is well nigh impossible to acquire that deftness and 
sureness which are so necessary and so sought after in catecheti- 
cal work. The first years of teaching should be for the catechist 
his most important years of apprenticeship. These they can be- 
come, if he carefully prepares for each and every catechesis, 
if he subjects himself to a subsequent self-examination, and, most 
important, if he accepts graciously and acts sanely upon the critical 
hints which he requests from his more experienced colleagues 
in catechetical work. In many dioceses the catechetical 
training of the young priests is regulated by special diocesan 
statutes. 10 These sometimes require that the catechetical student 
should assist at model catecheses given by able catechists for a 
certain number of periods. It is further required that his own 
work be inspected and supervised several times a year, without 

10 F. Coudreau, "Admission to the Higher Catechetic Institute" in 
Lumen Vitae, Vol. 7 (1952), pp. 478-479; ibid., "The Activities of the 
Higher Catechetical Institute" op. cit., Vol. 8 (1953), 507-508; R. G. 
Bandas in Catcchetics in the Seminary (Paterson, NJ. : Confraternity 
Publications); AAS, Vol. 38 (1945), pp. 173-176: Apostolic Instruction; 
On the Importance of the Study of Pedagogy in Seminaries (Paterson, N.J. : 
Confraternity Publications, 1945); R. J. Ryder, Canonical Provisions for 
Catechetks in the Seminary (Paterson, N.J.: Confraternity Publications, 
1945); Johannes Hofmger, "The Training Our Catechists Need" in 
Sloyan, op. cit., pp. 238 — 242. 



advance notice being given, by the school superintendent or 
by a regional supervisor appointed for just such a task. It is 
finally required if possible that at clergy conferences catecheses 
on moral themes are given. All these aids should only be too 
welcome to any young catechist. 11 

The most important contributing factor to the success of 
catechesis is and will always remain the personality of the cate- 
chist himself, as this is revealed in his attitude and in his public 
behaviour. Of the small children particularly it has been said, 
with justice, that they learn more with their eyes than with their 
ears. This holds also for the older children who are more critical 
in their appraisals and who can detect instinctively any discrep- 
ancy between the instruction and the conduct of the catechist. 
The priestly personality wields a special influence over the 
adolescent. At this age level even priestly virtue in the strict 
sense of the term no longer suffices — youth hungers for an ideal, 
a well-rounded personality, in whom are embodied religion, 
nature and supernature, harmoniously combined. Here we may 
quote what Michael Pfliegler, an able judge of the student, has 
said: "The religion teacher will succeed in teaching to that 
extent to which he himself has advanced as a personality . . . 
This requires first of all free and even development — that firm- 
ness which shirks from nothing because it has the secure centre 
of gravity within itself . . . which manifests no nervousness 
when confronted by any problem whatsoever, because it has 
always faced every problem squarely and consequently permits 
others to voice their queries with the same honesty. Such per- 
sonalities are the result of self-education, which has its origins 
back in the days of childhood." 12 

The perfect example for all catechetical and pastoral activity 

11 The Regulations of the Apostolic Administrator of Innsbruck-Feld- 
kirch, ChPBl, Vol. 65 (1952), pp. 120-121. 

12 M. Pfliegler, Der Religionsunterricht, Vol. II, p. 219. 



is ultimately the person of Christ Himself: in the zeal with which 
He preached the word of God, in the love with which He chose 
to pour Himself out for all and by which He drew especially 
children to himself. 

The catechist is, however, only one educator among many, 
who busy themselves with one and the same child. He must try 
to be on a friendly footing with these others, even though 
their educational activities contribute little to his own efforts. 
In the school there are in addition to himself other teachers. 
He should, as a consequence, try to establish favourable contacts 
with them and to cultivate friendly relationships which will 
serve to promote the objectives they have in common. The 
catechist should also try to keep in touch with the families of 
the children. In the country this contact will gradually evolve 
of itself. In the city parishes provision should be made for specific 
office hours, during which the parents can talk to the catechists 
about their children in the school building itself. 13 Meetings 
(socials, study clubs, etc.) which could be organized for the 
parents by one or other of the Catholic school organizations 
(e. g. P. T. A.) can serve the same purpose. The catechist should 
try to keep as closely as possible in contact with the parents of 
the First Communicants and of those who are about to graduate. 
He could, for example, hold special meetings to which they 
could be invited. 

While parents, teachers and catechists actually carry out the 
programme of a planned education, actual success in religious 
education depends upon a whole series of elements, which 
are called educative factors, that is, everything that the children 
see and hear on the way to and from school, on the playground, 

13 More effective is the procedure recommended by a zealous catechist : 
"Every time I am assigned a new class, I visit the families of all the 
children in it" KBl, Vol. 62 (1936), p. 386. In this way the catechist 
learns to know the environment from which his charges come. 



placards and bulletin boards, the example of adults and of their 
school companions, and especially the influence of their own 
class. As Pfliegler has remarked: 14 "Education is not a duet of 
two voices, those of the educator and the pupil; the more or 
less discordant orchestra of environment keeps intermingling 
its tones with those of the duet." As a result the catechist and the 
educator must resist the influence of a hostile world ; they must 
create in the true sense of the word, another kind of world, 
out of the school class itself and out of the liturgical life which 
is so essential to the school. In a school that is pervaded by a truly 
Catholic spirit such a task should not be too difficult. When 
the catechist is, however, called upon to teach in a so-called 
interdenominational or neutral school, in which the religion 
period is regarded as an alien subject, his catechetical activity 
can from the very start be compared to the sowing of seed in 
hard stony ground from which only a scanty harvest can be 
expected, — but the personality of a Catholic teacher may 
render ineffective the false principle upon which such a school 
is based. 

The situation in England is very much the same as that de- 
scribed for the United States. Most of the instruction of children 
is in the hands of lay-teachers who are properly trained for the 
task in the many Catholic training colleges throughout the 
country. In addition to this the pastoral clergy are required to 
visit their parochial schools to teach and they will usually 
take a considerable part in preparing children for First Con- 
fession and Communion. Many young priests are taking a 
special interest in the school-leavers. It should be observed that 
the American term "graduation" means in England "school- 
leaving age" which in the secondary-modern schools is fifteen 
and in the grammar schools anything over sixteen. 

14 M. Pfliegler, op. cit., II, 238. 



On the subject of cooperation with the family, parent- 
teacher associations are established in various parts of the coun- 
try and here and there are to be found fruitful experiments to 
make the First Communion a family-parish event rather than 
a merely parish-school event. A description will be found in 
The Sower, Jan. 1949, p. 170. 

For the training of lay-catechists — apart from teachers — 
there is the organization known as Our Lady's Catechists (Water- 
fall Cottage, Shoreham, Sevenoaks, Kent) who confine their 
attentions to the teaching of children and produce some very 
acceptable booklets on First Confession and Communion that 
can be used by children. In the Birmingham Archdiocese, there 
is a Guild of Catechists who, after examination, are licensed by 
the Ordinary to teach all categories of people. 




Under present day circumstances, catechesis deals primarily 
with children. As catechists, we must as a consequence pre- 
sent Christian doctrine in such a way that it is grasped by the 
child. To this end we must take into account their psychological 
differences, especially those special peculiarities of disposition, 
which are relevant to their religious training. In this respect both 
child and adolescent psychology can offer us valuable insights. 
The growing understanding of, and appreciation for, the psyche 
of the child with the conclusions which flow from it are the 
most valuable contributions through which the scientific studies 
of preceding generations can enrich catechesis. Of course we 
do not forget that in the baptized child we are not dealing 
with a merely natural being, but with a creature that belongs to 
the supernatural order through grace. This life of grace by its 
very nature remains as yet in the realm of the unconscious, 
but it is a seed that urges to be developed and to be developed 
into the conscious life of the soul. This development should 
take place in such a way that in the process the child becomes 
acquainted with the kingdom of God, assents and adheres to 
it in faith, and subordinates all his activities ever more and 
more to it in hope and charity. The life of grace in the soul 
of the child clamours for protection. If during childhood this 
life has been left undisturbed, and in peaceful and undisputed 
possession, the situation will basically change in adolescence. 
We should as a consequence strive to aid the child to anchor his 
conscious soul-life to God so strongly that during the stormy 
years of adolescence it may not be torn loose from such a mooring. 



In catecliesis we are concerned chiefly with the years of the 
elementary school, that is, with children from their sixth to 
their fourteenth year, but we are also equally interested in 
children in their later years, in adolescence. They too should not 
be left without religious training. Differential psychology — 
which among other things determines the psychological differ- 
ences at the various age-levels — has arrived at a division of 
psychical development similar in arrangement to the sevenfold 
division which was formulated by Aristotle, and which finds 
expression in Canon Law (can. 88) from time immemorial. 
Of a child of seven years it is assumed that he is not master of 
himself, not sui compos. Children up to the age of 14 (girls 
to the age of 12) are called impuberes; they are not as yet subject 
to the ecclesiastical penal laws. Youths up to the age of 21 are 
termed minores, minorennes; they are exempted from certain 

At the age of five or six a child begins to attend school and to 
take part in religious instruction. At this point we are faced with 
the difficulty: to what extent is the child capable of understand- 
ing religion, taken in the full Catholic sense, namely, as a re- 
lationship to God based upon knowledge (apart from the espe- 
cially favourable or especially unfavourable formation received 
from the environment) ? Child psychology supplies the catechist 
with an encouraging answer. 1 The psychological stage through 

1 Rudolph Allers (E. B. Strauss, trans.), The Psychology of Character 
(New York: Sheed & Ward, 1939); Alvena Burnite, Your Teen-Agers: 
How to Survive Them (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1952); C. L. Burns, Mental 
Health in Childhood (Chicago: Fides, 1956); Charles Curran, Counseling 
in Catholic Life and Education (New York: Macmillan, 1952); Daniel 
Dougherty, Catholic Child Guidance (New York: Paulist Press, 1941); 
Urban Fleege, Self-Revelation of the Adolescent Boy (Milwaukee: Bruce, 
1945); Paul Furfey, The Growing Boy (New York: Macmillan, 1930); 
id., Social Problems of Childhood (New York: Macmillan, 1929); Ursula 
Gerty, The Adaptive Behavior of Adolescent Children (Washington, D. C. : 
Catholic University Press, 1955); Arnold GeseD et al., The Child from 



which the child from 4-7 passes is called the second age of 
questioning. He has for some time previously learned how to 
reduce the objects in his surroundings to general concepts and 
to acquire mastery over them through speech. 

The child then begins to delve deeper into the relationships 
which lie beneath outer appearances. He has already discovered 
the principles of causality and has arrived at the use of his own 
ability to think causally which he must exercise immediately. 

Five to Ten (New York: Harper, 1946); id. et. ah, Youth: The Years from 
Ten to Sixteen (New York: Harper, 1956); William & Margaret Kelly, 
Introductory Child Psychology (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1938); Joseph Kempf, 
Helping Youth to Grow (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1941); Charles Leahy, Teen: 
A Book for Parents (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1950); Daniel Lord, Questions 
People Ask about Their Children, with Answers (St. Louis: Queen's Work, 
1948); Raphael McCarthy, Training the Adolescent (New York: Bruce, 
1934); Vincent McCorry, Those Terrible Teens (New York: McMullen, 
1947) ; Mary Michael, Why Blame the Adolescent? (New York: McMullen, 
1956); Thomas Verner Moore, The Driving Forces of Human Nature and 
Their Adjustment (New York: Grune & Stratton, 1948) ; Carl Murchison, 
Ed., A Handbook of Child Psychology (2nd ed. ; Worcester: Clark Univer- 
sity, 1933); James Royce, Personality and Mental Health (Milwaukee: 
Bruce, 1955); Mary Scharlieb, The Psychology of Childhood, Normal and 
Abnormal (New York: Smith, 1930); Alexander Schneiders, Psychology 
of Adolescence (New York: Rinehart, 1954); Louis Sherill, Understanding 
Children (New York: Abingdon, 1939); U. S. Department of Labor, 
Your Child from One to Six (Washington, D.C. : Department of Labor 
Children's Bureau, 1945); Theodore Vittoria, Ed., Adolescent Conflicts 
(Derby, N.Y.: Society of St. Paul, 1951); Lilly Zarncke, Kindheit und 
Gewissen (Freiburg i. Br.: Lambertus Verlag, 1951); C. W. Valentine, 
Psychology and its Bearing on Education (London: Methuen, 1950): 
Charles L. C. Burns, Maladjusted Children (London: Hollis & Carter): 
Gilbert Highet, The Art of Teaching (London: Methuen, 1952): 
David L. Greenstock, Christopher's Talks to Catholic Teachers (London 
Burns, Oates, 1953); Vera Barclay, The Way into the Kingdom 
With an Introduction by the Editor of The Sower (2nd ed.; London 
Burns, Oates, 1947). This little book, of some eighty pages, contains 
all the essentials of sound teaching. Chapter-headings like "The 
Imagination in Religion", "The 'Interior life' of Children" and "The 
Psychology of Charity" will give some indication of its approach. 



As a consequence he begins to ask endless questions: why is 
this so? who made it? The child is not critical of the answers he 
receives. His mental activity is limited to a provisional concept 
of the world and to a philosophy of life which needs to correspond 
to actual reality only in the broadest sense of the word and for 
which the fairy-tale with very few figures and its simpli- 
fied natural laws is the typical expression. But to this broad 
general outline belongs also knowledge of God. The child 
returns constantly to those questions which we can answer 
only by offering him the Ultimate Cause (Why is it raining today ? 
Why does the water run away so fast?). "From this logical 
standpoint the child of his own accord arrives, compelled as 
it were, at the concept of God or at least at an elementary 
notion of Him" who is to him "the ultimate agent behind 
all things". 2 The idea thereby arising spontaneously in the 
heart of the child is that of a personal being. The child has in 
fact experienced the notion of causality first of all in himself 
when, for example, he started something rolling or made a 
noise. In this way he is inclined a priori to conceive as personal 
beings all other things which cause something to happen and to 
humanize them. For example, the sun, the stars and the wind. 
All the more, then, is He, who created all things, regarded as a 
personal being. 

In such a process, the notion of God which the child forms is 
necessarily anthropomorphic. He represents God to himself after 
the same fashion in which he envisages his own parents, whose 
capacities and whose care are, for his mental horizon, unlimited. 
This opens a second, and very natural approach, to the formation 

2 Ch. Biihler, Kindheit und Jugend (3rd ed. ; Leipzig, 1931), p. 342; 
consult alsoPfliegler, Vol. II, pp. 85-86; Vol. Ill, pp. 28-29; Sr. M.Mary, 
"Religious Concepts of Catholic Children of Pre-School Age" in The 
Parent Educator, Vol. U (Paterson, N.J.: Confraternity Publications, 1932), 
p. 9. 



of the notion of God. If the child sees that his parents are resigned 
to the will of God, he becomes aware that God is greater than 
his parents ; he is given an inkling of a Father in heaven. God is 
then that one to whom a person speaks, without seeing 
him, but who, nevertheless, hears us. 3 The affective ties by 
which he is bound to his parents determine the nature of the sen- 
timents which he entertains toward God. The concept which 
the child has, especially of his human father, is largely decisive 
in the formation of the impression which the child has of God. 
The love and reverence, which he shows his father, or in unfor- 
tunate circumstances, the fear and anxiety, in which he trembles 
before him, are unwittingly transferred to his idea of God. 

Of extreme importance is the way in which the notion of God 
is first presented to the child. If a parent constantly threatens the 
child with God and with hell fire for only simple, childlike 
faults and failings, God Himself can become for him an object 
of fear during his whole life. "Perhaps the child has previously 
been afraid only of a dangerous black dog or a vicious bull. 
He is threatened now with God. And so God takes on the 
unlovable qualities of the animals he had feared. And this impres- 
sion remains." 4 

The child comes to us to be catechized endowed with this 
psychological foundation, to which the Christian family, or the 
Catholic kindergarten, will add, without any special order, certain 
other basic concepts drawn from revealed religion, viz., the 
Christ Child, the Mother of God, and the Angels, together 
with a few nursery rhymes and some prayers learned at his 

3 L. Barbey, "La notion de Dieu chez l'enfant" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 2 
(1947), pp. 117-128; M. Hutard, "La Priere de l'enfant, appel filial au 
Pere tout puissant" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 2 (1947), pp. 325-332; W. Roche, 
The Child At Prayer (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1933), especially 
pp. 15-16; A. G. Cicognani, et ah, The Parent Educator , New Series Vol. II 
(Washington: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, 1943), p. 22. 

4 Pfliegler, Vol. II, p. 76. 



mother's knees. Upon such a foundation die catechist must 
build by inducing order into the concepts, by teaching new 
truths and by educating. The first year of the elementary school 
which is still part of the first septenary, can, in keeping with the 
psychological level of this age group, still have a transitional 
character unless the child is already to be admitted to First 
Communion. The existing psychic world of the child can be 
consolidated, enlarged upon and clarified through the discussion 
of those realities with which the child is confronted in nature, in 
the Church and in the ecclesiastical year. The catechist must, 
however, be reconciled to the fact that today he will very often 
have to deal with children who fail to bring with them 
from the family that foundation upon which he can build. We 
shall return to this later. 

What is the spiritual make-up of the children in the subse- 
quent years of the elementary school not only in regard to the 
task of teaching but of educating which is incumbent upon the 
catechist? In regard to the didactic role of catechesis, he will 
find the same favourable bent: the children at this age level 
retain their yearning for knowledge until toward the end of 
the elementary school. In these years the reasoning of the chil- 
dren is dominated by a great thirst for knowledge, for which, 
viewed in their essential aspects, the school and especially the 
religion period furnish the most appropriate and most satisfac- 
tory answers. The child seeks ever more eagerly to become 
acquainted with the real world; he wants it freed ever more 
fully from the fairy-tale elements which, at first, had captured 
his imagination. But this appetite for knowledge has its own 
peculiar characteristics. 

1. This longing is restricted to the particular, to detail. 
Whereas previously the child was content to gather only a 
rough view of the world, his interest is now directed to 
particulars, not to their ordered arrangement, and certainly 



not to any system. When children of this age level undertake 
to describe an incident or a picture, they recount single details 
without troubling much about the relationship between them. 

2. Their interest is directed to externals: to phenomena in 
nature, to incidents in their external features, to tangible facts. 
Contrariwise they show little capacity for phenomena of the 
interior life despite their great sensitiveness. They are furthermore 
incapable of reviving their own personal experiences by means 
of reflection. This is forcibly brought to our attention by the 
way in which they report in compositions things which have 
exercised considerable influence over their own soul-life, for 
example, a feast, a trip, an accident in which they were involved. 
In such reports all we are given is a sober recital of external facts. 

3. It is, moreover, a fact that the child's thinking is still very 
much attached to visual things and achieves mastery of abstract 
matter only with difficulty. We must, however, make a distinc- 
tion here between the lower and the upper grades. In the lower 
grades, that is, up to the age of ten, general ideas, which the 
child has used for some time, still require the support, of images; 
it is usually an individual image upon which the child regularly 
relies. For example, the notion of a "well" is always connected 
with the image of a particular well existing in the world of 
the child. Even for notions drawn from the realm of inner 
experience (faith, love, sin, contrition) the child must as a rule 
lean upon some concrete precise experience. Here, too, he 
still deals with individual images. 

From these facts we can realize that it is indispensible for 
catechesis at this age level to present Christian doctrine in 
such a way that notions are joined as far as possible to concrete 
images, preferably and most effectively in the form of 
a narrative. The catechist can meet this need simply by 
recounting to the children in simple terms the history of re- 
demption and basing further instructions upon this. 



From the tenth year on, the child is able more easily to 
dispense with the assistance of concrete images. At the 
same time, he begins to feel that he can rely more readily upon 
his own understanding. At this stage he experiences within himself 
a powerful urge to differentiate sharply between phantasy and 
reality, between the world of fairies, which has continued to 
affect him, and the real world which he now perceives with 
ever greater clarity. In this sense Charlotte Biihler says of 
the ten year old child, that he is "truly a fanatic for reality". 5 
From this time on the catechist can draw more frequently and 
to greater advantage upon abstract notions, definitions, general 
laws; instruction on the catechism can now begin. The 
sentences of the catechism, as we shall see, must, however, still 
be developed from the seen image. 6 

5 Ch. Biihler, Das Seelenlehen des Jugendlichen (5th ed.; Jena, 1929), p. 
195. Children of this age begin to lose those concepts which still have 
something of the aura of fairies about them, namely, the idea of 
Santa Claus who enters the home at Christmas, admonishing, rewarding 
and punishing, as well as that idea of the Christ Child personally 
bringing presents into the home and placing them under the tree 
before the children are permitted to enter the room. It may, 
however, happen that parents may try to keep artificially these concepts 
(phantasies we might be tempted to say) from disappearing, because of 
the joy they experience in the childlike simplicity and naivety of their 
offspring. During the fairy age such concepts cause the children no 
harm, especially if parents try to give an understanding of them in 
language which does not over-tax their capacity. (The catechist should 
not himself, however, embark upon such a course in the classroom.) These 
concepts can be disastrous, if they are kept alive beyond this stage, be- 
cause they will of necessity result in deception being practised, and be- 
cause their rejection later on will bring with it the rejection of that ideal 
religious world which had been inculcated in them. P. O'Donnell and 
Msgr. Mendelis, The Truth About Santa Claus (Baltimore: St. Alphonsus). 

6 The transition to abstract thought which takes place during the final 
years of compulsory school attendance is graphically depicted by A. 
Burgardsmeier, Gott und Himmel in der psychischen Welt der Jugend 
(Dusseldorf, 1952). 



In regard to the educative role of catechesis the tenth year 
also constitutes a line of demarcation. Up to this year 
educative influence is exerted upon the child by means of 
habit, by outward influences; inward perception as yet plays 
scarcely any part in his life. The teacher must still decide what 
the youngsters should do, show them how to do it, practise it 
with them, admonish and encourage them. To this we may add, 
that in these years the children are still easily influenced; by 
nature they are still disposed to be guided by their elders. We 
cannot, however, rely too greatly on the virtues and piety which 
they acquire in these years. Whatever they may have amassed, 
should be considered only as a kind of a preparation; it will be 
either consolidated and strengthened or dissipated in this now 
dawning period of growing independence and maturity. 

At this point we must consider a weighty observation made 
by experienced catechists. Whereas up to the tenth year scarcely 
any difference in conduct can be detected in children from reli- 
gious and religiously indifferent families, now a definite diver- 
gence can be discerned: children from religiously indifferent 
homes begin to sense the dissonance between school and their 
home. Their intellectual development has progressed to such 
an extent that they begin to seek a solution for it. They have, 
however, not advanced far enough to be able to make a definite 
personal decision themselves; the stronger environment settles 
the issue. If the child is happy in the circle of the family, the 
family will retain its grip. But the catechist should not think 
that his work has been in vain. In adolescence the question will 
again be raised and at least in the case of the more talented pupils 
the insight which has been gained, and which in the interim 
should have been deepened and vitalized, should tip the scales 
decisively. This will surely be the case, if the catechist succeeds 
in fitting such young folk into suitable youth groups. 7 But even 

7 Pfliegler, Vol. II, p. 95; compare with p. 229. 



if a complete estrangement from religion should result, there 
would still remain the hope that at least at life's end the 
religious truths which the child had learned in his youth might 
still become the plank of salvation. 8 A majority of the children 
may have come from environments estranged from God, a 
condition that ought to be considered in the kind of catechesis 
which is given. In such circumstances the abstract sentences 
of the catechism will scarcely find echo. Practically, at least, only 
a biblical training and contact with religious practice hold out 
some hope of success. 9 

8 In this respect the experiences which Barbara Lerchenfeld had while 
caring for the sick and dying in the tenement districts of both Paris and 
Vienna are very enlightening. She often said when reminiscing: 
"The religious instruction which these people, even the most abandoned, 
had received in Vienna, produced amazing results in their last hour, in 
contrast to what I saw in Paris . . . where the broad masses of people, 
who had grown up without any religious instruction, were left untouched 
by death and in that fatal hour failed to find their way back to the 
Church." Reported in the ChPBl, Vol. 63 (1950), p. 162. In this connec- 
tion we might cite a passage from The American Freemason, an organ of 
Freemasonry, printed in the U. S. A., "let death come into their (i. e., 
those who claim to be Catholics and retain Masonic membership) homes, 
or let them face death themselves, and ten to one they will go back to 
the Church and abjure the fraternity" (Catholic Mind [March, 1945], p. 
190) — an undoubted tribute to the kind of instruction in their faith that 
they have received. 

9 F. Jantsch, " Seelsorge am Arbeiterkind " in ChPBl } Vol. 62 (1 949), pp. 
68-71; L. Rctif, "La formation religieuse des enfants de milieu populaire 
dechn&thmsc" mLumenVitae j Vol. 1 (1946), pp. 471-498; L.Retif, Cate- 
chisme et mission onvriere. Du Catechisme au catechumenat (Rencontres 31), 
Paris, 1950. The Rev. L. Retif found meeting places for groups of children 
in Christian families in the neighbourhood. These families took upon 
themselves the task of acting like guardians for their respective group. In 
these families the children had time not only for happy, carefree life in 
common, but also for religious guidance; in other words, they came 
together not solely for instructions, but to experience personally the value 
of a Christian way of life. For further literature on efforts in this direction 
being made in France, consult Lentner, pp. 162-165 and 174-178. Some 



The last years of the elementary school are, at least for boys, 
characterized as the teen-age. It is not wickedness, but inner 
unrest, the need to do something spectacular, which is re- 
sponsible for all kinds of pranks. The suggestibility of former 
years has vanished. Discipline in the class may well become a 
problem for the catechist. In these years the children need a 
strong hand to hold them in check, but the hand must " be united 
to a clear head and a good heart. " 10 

The maturing years, adolescence, are for the young people 
who are pursuing higher studies a time to be devoted to regular 
and somewhat more intensive religious training. The youths 
who have gone to work are exempted from attendance at 
school. They can no longer be considered as regular recipients 
of catechesis. They may continue their formation only within 
the limited framework of evening classes, vocational training 
or Sunday school. For this reason it is of the greatest importance 
that in such circumstances their religious care be not neglected. 
A cursory glance at the psychology of this age level will provide 
justification for such a demand and will permit us an insight 
into the kind of religious guidance which is required. 

A new situation is created for these teen-agers by their 
sexual development which begins at this time. This process, 
which is primarily physical, actually affects the soul by reason 
of the demands which it makes. But the spiritual condition of 
adolescence is thereby no more than partly touched upon. For 
along with bodily development there also takes place, and to 

attempts that have been made in the U. S. A.: Sr. of St. Francis, "The 
Peoria-Aledo Plan" in The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 46 (1948), pp. 
148-152; Eva J. Ross, "The Leakage and a Dutch Experiment" in The 
Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 39 (1941), pp. 84-88; E. Schmiedeler, 
"Rural Education in Action" in The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 41 
(1943), pp. 202-207; C. J. Nuesse and T. J. Harte, The Sociology of the 
Parish (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1951), especially pp. 285-322. 
10 Pfliegler, Vol. II, p. 109. 



a great extent independently, a spiritual process of awakening 
whose beginnings are manifest in a tendency to introspection, 
in the discovery of the self, which may take up practically the 
entire third septenary. 

The youngster whose attention has up to this time been directed 
to the mastery of the external world and who has known and 
has appreciated the fact that he has been guided and protected by 
adults, becomes aware that every person must ultimately dis- 
cover for himself his own way of life and must forge his 
own happiness. This knowledge results in an inner detachment 
from the home and from all that recalls his childhood, a strong 
antipathy for authority and for tradition, an impatience with 
restrictions of every kind, those of religion not excepted, an 
ardent desire to taste the freedom of the wide world (wander- 
lust), and the "felt need" to establish relationships outside the 

This first negative phase of development, which imparts to 
the beginning of the adolescent period its distinctive character, 
is gradually transformed into a positive phase. There begins a 
searching and yearning, a pursuit of ideals, after which a person 
can fashion his own life, a longing for friends in whom these 
ideals are embodied, a confidential adviser, who is capable of 
leading and showing the way. Under these conditions it is 
evident how important religious ideals are at this stage, ideals, 
which must be offered not by means of instruction, but in a 
friendly and informal fashion (social gatherings, discussion 
groups), in any case, however, as an answer to the questions 
which seethe within them and torment them. Up to this point 
their religious world had of necessity remained limited to con- 
cepts which were childish and inadequate ; it must now be rebuilt 
if it is to be integrated into the image of the world which 
youngsters entertain. Knowledge carried over from the elemen- 
tary school years supplies invaluable material for this task, if it 



has not entirely disappeared. But the great outlines into which 
religion and life, nature and supernature, must be fitted har- 
moniously, can be rightly appreciated and effectively 
accepted as a map of life only now when life presses upon them 
from all sides. 

In England the school-leaving age varies from fifteen (second- 
ary modern) to eighteen (grammar and boarding schools). It is 
for the former of these categories that most work needs to be 
done. Various experiments are made by different schools, and 
Canon Drinkwater has provided a book to assist priests and 
teachers in the task entitled Talks to Teenagers (Burns, Oates). 
Material of a rather different kind will be found in the same 
author's Twelve and After (Samuel Walker). Finally, his Abbre- 
viated Catechism with Explanations (Burns, Oates) was compiled 
with school-leavers in view. All these books will, in one way 
or another, provide a lively revision course of the whole of 
Christian doctrine and practice. 

The youth movement in England cannot be said to be highly 
developed. There is an active Catholic Scout Organization 
which works in conjunction with Imperial Headquarters, and 
makes provision for the training of Catholic Scouts. The Young 
Christian Workers' movement is active in certain areas and 
publishes a splendid review, The New Life, intended for chaplains 
and leaders as well as other kinds of literature for younger mem- 
bers. The archdiocese of Birmingham runs a Youth Hostel at 
Stratford-on-Avon where, among other activities, courses for 
school-leavers and youth leaders are held. 




1. Teaching and Education 

In conformity with the concept and the phraseology we have 
inherited from the past, it would seem that the task of the 
catechist was nothing more than to impart religious instruction. 
This impression is deepened if one looks at present-day cate- 
chesis. It has become catcchcsis in school. By that fact emphasis 
is placed on religious knowledge. 

When catechesis was first given to children, knowledge, since it 
was knowledge of doctrinal differences, possessed an importance 
all its own and could hold the centre of the stage, as long 
as in other respects religious education was provided for 
sufficiently through other channels. Considered, however, in 
its essence catechesis cannot be restricted solely to religious 
instruction, to doctrine, to something that need only be "known". 

Christian doctrine can never be an end in itself; it must 
direct us to God. Knowledge is necessary, but it is a knowledge 
of that way, which we must traverse. Catechesis must be 
religious-moral direction; it must be a part of pastoral 
work. The life of grace as a seed, which is implanted in 
the soul of the child at Baptism, must ultimately unfold into a 
well-rounded Christian life. The power of faith, the virtus 
infusa fidei must be channeled into action; it must be fostered 
into a believing acceptance of the divine message of "good 
news". From faith, hope must spring up, and from hope, love, 
the wholehearted and ardent turning to God, the Supreme 
Good. Through the moral virtues the right attitude towards 



earthly things must be found : a conviction, a resolution, a holy 
resolve. This objective may sometimes be also a sentiment, a 
joy about God's might and God's ways, a prayer, a hymn, in 
any case not simply knowledge. 

A year of catechesis should produce much the same effect in 
the children as a retreat docs. In such a retreat knowledge is 
inculcated: the gracious plans of God for humanity are brought 
to our attention not simply to be affirmed consciously and 
theoretically, but to furnish us with a map for life and with 
convincing motives for our future course of action. The fact that 
in catechesis the classes follow one upon another at greater or 
lesser intervals is scarcely a disadvantage in view of the limited 
powers of concentration of the child's psyche. By means of 
judicious repetition the view of the whole will gradually grow 
more rounded and will be ever more deeply imprinted on the 
receptive souls of the children. Frequently, by devoting several 
religious instruction periods to subordinate partial topics, the 
catcchist can offer much instructive and formational material. 
From time to time, however, especially on the great feasts of 
the liturgical year, he can reach certain desired objectives inciden- 
tally ; perhaps during a religious hour in which the children forget 
for a while the task of learning. The world of faith which up to 
that moment had been inaccessible to them will suddenly appear 
in a transfigured form in all its elevating and sanctifying beauty. 

Plainly there exists a tension between the ideal of reli- 
gious education which we have just outlined and the task 
of catechetical instruction which has already been mentioned 
and which is inseparable from the task of the catechist. How can 
we effect a reconciliation between these two? 

This reconciliation is posited by the fact that according to 
the wisdom of education 1 first formulated by Aristotle, teaching 

1 Consult, for example: O. Willmann, "Erziehung" in Lexikon dcr 
Padagogik, Vol. 1 (Freiburg: Herder , 1913), pp. 1 J 56 if. ; J. A. Jungmann, 



represents the most essential part of education; for education is 
perfected in three stages: in the cultivation of those natural 
dispositions which in the child as in every other human being 
clamour for fuller development; in the regulation of the child's 
conduct from without by means of discipline (by training him 
to acquire habits, he can be brought to observe the law externally 
and to integrate himself into the existent order) finally, in the 
formation or the instruction by which his mind is prepared to 
grasp the idea of law, the ideal, and to assimilate it and to con- 
form his interior life to it. 

As a teacher the catechist must always bear in mind that his 
task is not simply to imprint upon the minds of the children a 
great number of theoretical statements without paying any heed 
to their meaning or connection with one another. He must 
rather introduce the children to the supernatural world of faith 
in such a way that the momentous thoughts that are embraced 
by it become those ideals by which they can orientate themselves 
and by which they can be guided on life's highway, and that 
these ideals evolve into powerful virtues which will propel them 
along the ways of Christian living. 

These principles require, however, some explanatory obser- 
vations : 

1. We should point out that especially in the early grades of 
the elementary school, the catechist cannot educate the child 
by means of an insight into the truths themselves, but almost 
exclusively by training him to acquire habits and by imposing 

"Die idealen Giiter im ErziehungsbegrifF Otto Willmanns" in Inter- 
nationale Zeitschrift f. Erziehungswissenschaft, Vol. 6 (1950), pp. 25-36; F. De 
Hovre (E. B. Jordan, trans.), Catholicism in Education (New York: Benziger 
Brothers, 1934), pp. 461-493; H. E. Mayer, The Philosophy of Teaching 
of St. Thomas Aquinas (Milwaukee: Bruce, c. 1929), especially pp. 50-53; 
F. De Hovre et L. Breck, Les Maitres de la Pedagogie Contemporaine 
(Bruges: Charles Beyaert), pp. 307-318; Edward Leen, What is Edu- 
cation? (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1943). 



on him external discipline. This insight can only supplement the 
words of authority and will do so increasingly as the years roll 
on. Does this mean, then, that we cannot achieve anything 
lasting, anything essential in education by means of instruction? 

We have established that the child does not yet possess any 
sense of the cohesion and of the unity of a system; bis mind is 
still entirely orientated by the particular. Nevertheless, our efforts 
are not entirely without fruit; for whatever we accomplish in 
these years in the elementary school will serve as a preparation 
and as a foundation for later life, in fact a very important pre- 
paration and foundation. Later on, when the young man has 
perfected the change from the exterior to the interior life he 
should find this inner world in essentials within himself or at 
least he will see the plans for and the constituent element of it 
so that he will need only a few more suggestions to bring it into 
contact with the new psychological situation in which he now 
finds himself. But in childhood there will be at least the bene- 
ficial influence of that joyful mood contained in our catechesis if 
it realizes its own basic characteristic as the message of good 

2. The concept of religious instruction as directive teaching, 
as landmarks on the road to God, offers still another advantage : 
it permits us to assign precisely its relationship to other subjects, 
because for these as well as for religion the same basic notions 
hold true. Whereas the religion period gives us access to the 
highest sphere of reality, secular subjects introduce us to the 
other realms. It is thereby shown that, and in which way, the 
many points of contact between the two sectors of instruction 
combine in one single world of ideal values. It should be the 
task of the school to impart to the child a concept of this world 
which finds its finest expression in religion, a concept which 
reaches its culmination and enfolds its blessing during the years 
of adolescence. 



3. The question is how to distinguish this apostolic and educ- 
ative perspective in the teaching of religion from that instruction 
in which religious knowledge is imparted solely for its own 
sake. In its ultimate analysis it is a problem which centres on the 
relationship between the message of faith and theology. In 
theological science revealed doctrine is taught primarily from 
the standpoint of truth, without considering its value for life. 
Theology determines what is contained in revelation, and what 
can, in the way of knowledge, be deduced from it by means of 
logical reasoning. The results are compared with the knowledge 
acquired in the light of natural reason, obscurities are dispelled, 
apparent contradictions are resolved. As a consequence, the 
periphery of revealed truths constitutes the chosen ground of 
theological speculation. 

In the preaching of the word of God, and consequently also 
in catechesis, we treat, it is true, of the same revealed doctrine, 
but of this doctrine considered from the viewpoint of the good, 
from the standpoint of value. We deal with this doctrine, insofar 
as it includes and offers the treasure of the kingdom of God, 
insofar as it is a doctrine of salvation. This preaching is, there- 
fore, concerned not with marginal zones or with the borderlines 
of revelation but with the very centre of Christian truth. From 
those materials which theology has proved durable must be 
built the house in which one can live or, at least, the road upon 
which one can travel. Christianity must, as in the time of the 
Apostles, be proclaimed as "the good news". The basic facts of 
salvation must as a consequence stand in the foreground: Christ 
as the apex of the divine economy of salvation, as the Redeemer 
and Dispenser of grace, living and continuing his mission in his 
Church and in his sacraments ; in the sphere of moral law, the 
principles of Christian conduct must be presented as the gener- 
ous responses of man to God's merciful love. 

Christian doctrine may thus be presented in three different 
aspects : 



1. In an outward form that is both religions and practical. 
In the spiritual life with its set expressions which have been 
derived from usage and tradition, especially in the Church's 

2. In its historical form: as the history of redemption as it 
is contained, above all, in the Scriptures. 

3. In its systematic form : as a structure of dogmas, which are 
arranged logically into a system as presented in the catechism. 

It is according to this division that catechetical matter was 
considered and evaluated in ancient Christian catechesis. This 
is evident, for example, in the threefold teaching of the Chris- 
tian mysteries in the Roman regulations regarding the cate- 
chumenate: Lord's Prayer, Gospels and the Creed. 2 

2. Liturgy and the Spiritual Life 

If for centuries it was possible for Christian youth to grow into 
Christian doctrine and Christian life without any special cate- 
chesis being apportioned them, this was possible only because 
of a Christian environment in which Christianity was lived and 
preached in the home and in the church. The child saw himself 
drawn into a religious environment which was sanctified by 
daily prayers, by pious practices and by Christian symbols. He 
was taken to Mass and to liturgical functions; he celebrated 
Church festivals with the community. In these he absorbed both 
the doctrine and the practice of his religion, without being able 
to understand clearly, it is true, its single details. The religious 
instruction in schools of the present day, in which the notional 
(the intellect) is accorded pre-eminence, must not neglect this 
element of Christian formation. On the contrary, it must avail 
itself of its advantages more conscientiously and explicitly the 

2 See above, p. 4f£. 



less the spontaneous effect of these educational forces is available 
in a religiously frozen atmosphere. The liturgy forms an 
imperishable treasury; its pedagogical possibilities have fre- 
quently been extolled by the authorities of recent times. 3 In 
what do these possibilities consist? 

The entire teaching of the Church is contained in the liturgy. 
Liturgy is dogma that is prayed. Although liturgy is full of 
life and religious vitality, it is not dominated by unrestrained 
feeling but by "the primacy of the Logos" (Guardini). The 
chief events of the "good news" parade in an impressive fashion 
before our eyes in the ecclesiastical year. For this reason St. 
Thomas was able to say: the faithful must know and must 
believe expressly those truths of the faith which are the object of 
a feast. 4 This offers the explanation for the ancient axiom: 
lex or audi — lex credendi. 

In the liturgy (as generally in prayer) we approach the truths 
and the facts of religion with the proper dispositions. In the 
liturgy we do not philosophize about God, but we adore him. 
In the liturgy we do not attempt to analyse faith, hope and 
charity, but we practise them. In the liturgy we avail ourselves 

3 Guardini (Ada Lane, trans.), The Spirit of the Liturgy (New York: 
Sheed and Ward, 1930); L. Bopp (A. P. Schimberg, trans.), Liturgical 
Education (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1937); D. v. Hildebrand, Liturgy and 
Personality (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1943); A. Beil, "Die 
Formkrafte der Liturgie in der Erziehung" in Bibel u. Liturgie, Vol. 19 
(1951 /52), pp. 120-125; V. Michel, The Liturgy of the Church (New York: 
Macmillan, 1937); G. Ellard, Christian Life and Worship (Milwaukee: 
Bruce, 1955); J. A. Jungmann, Public Worship, Eng. trans. (Challoner 
Publications) Lumen Vitae, Vol. 10, nos. 2 and 3, special issue 
on "Liturgy, the Re-presentation of Salvation" (International Centre 
for Studies in Religious Education, rue Washington, Brussels, 
Belgium); Liturgy, Vol. 23, no. 4, special issue on "Liturgy and Educa- 
tion" (Publ. from 14 Priest Lane, Pershore, Worcs., England). 

4 De ver. q. 14, a. 11 ; J. V. McGlynn, Truth : St. Thomas Aquinas, 3 vols. 
Chicago: Henry Regnery, Vol. II (1953), p. 262. 



of the Sacraments with holy reverence, and we live as children 
of the Church. Although liturgy is not primarily concerned 
with educating us, but only with bringing us into union with 
God, it, nevertheless, tends to communicate to us those disposi- 
tions which are required by the whole of reality which gravi- 
tates around God and in this way forms Christian character so 
profoundly. All its values cast their rays harmoniously upon us. 
Order enters into the soul; humility, reverence, esteem for 
everything holy and sublime pervade those who have surrender- 
ed themselves to God. 

If in catechesis we should succeed in introducing children to 
the content of the liturgy, we would open up a well which could 
supply the adult Christian with "waters of eternal life" his 
whole life through. Whereas doctrine, assimilated as theoretical 
knowledge, may fade from memory, and often no new knowl- 
edge is added to what one already knows, the liturgy accom- 
panies the Christian through life, at least at Mass on Sundays 
and holy days. The liturgy, consequently, as has been rightly 
said, is the catechism of adults. There is the further advantage 
that the liturgy with its wide view and virile serenity is not 
exposed to the danger of being discarded by adolescents and 
adults as a part of a childish world of phantasy. In the liturgy 
religion is built to last a lifetime. 

A glance at the essential points in the field of liturgical prac- 
tice confirms what we have said. A fruitful symbol of a Christian 
concept of life is the church, especially when, as is so often the 
case in the country, it forms the centre of a town or village at 
the point where all roads converge, its tower a symbol of 
strength. In this church, where the living come together and 
in the encircling cemetery the dead await the resurrection, 
thoughts of eternity must surely be imprinted upon the Christian 
soul. At the same time by its monuments and by its treasures 
upon which men have perhaps laboured for centuries and which 



are adorned with love as much as skill, the Church builds a 
bridge to the sublime achievements of the past and so strengthens 
the meaning of tradition and gives substance to sane perseve- 
rance. To many statues of the saints there may be attached 
memories which are mirrored in the celebration of the feasts 
and in the lives of the faithful. The altar with the tabernacle 
before which the vigil light flickers displays most forcibly the 
living heart of Christian dogma. The costliness of the vessels 
and the preciousness of the vestments used at daily Mass offer 
the faithful more than faint intimations of the all-Holy whom 
they serve. There is no need for many words to call attention 
to these and other details and to centre the powers of obser- 
vation upon them. 

In the beginning the Mass itself is in its innermost essence not 
easily accessible to the children because of the strangeness not 
only of its language, but also of the formulation of the thoughts 
contained in it. But its very inaccessibility is an all important 
expression of the sublimity of the mystery itself. Moreover, in 
every living parish the catechist should avail himself of those 
parts, which are readily understandable, in High Mass and in 
the children's Mass, in vernacular prayers and hymns, in 
order to explain and to make clear the mysteries of the Mass 
in a manner adapted to their capacity. If he chooses these parts 
well, he can bring the children by their participation in them 
to experience what it means to be a Christian and to belong to 
the Church. In fact by such a participation the child will appre- 
ciate these truths incomparably more efficaciously than if he 
had learned a long and difficult definition of the Church by 
heart. To the teaching of the liturgy the catechist should add a 
proper evaluation of the diocesan prayerbook and the diocesan 
hymnal with their treasuries of prayer and hymns in which are 
contained that living portion of the liturgy so dear to the people, 
and which may be described as diocesan liturgy. 



The liturgical or ecclesiastical year permits us to delve more 
deeply into the thought-structure of Christian dogma. The 
mystery of Christ is its basic theme; its two essential elements 
have each its cycle of feasts : the Person of Him, who became 
man for us, and His work of redemption. The teaching of these 
festal cycles will be so much more deeply anchored, the more 
the rhythm of the catechetical course is synchronized with these 
two major feasts, incorporating their mysteries in the themes 
to be taught. Such objective can be attained not only in biblical 
catechesis when the school year begins in autumn, but also 
generally in a syllabus that is arranged systematically. The 
culmination of the liturgy should also be the culmination 
of the catechesis. In the ancient Christian catechumenate, 
Easter was the goal towards which Christian training was 
aimed. Even the minor feasts in the course of the year should 
not be passed over unnoticed; by making allusions to 
them in prayers and hymns, they, too, can be employed to 

Of importance are also religious usages with which the liturgi- 
cal year is usually surrounded and by which it is usually accom- 
panied both in the home and in the family. The children should 
become aware of these early in life and take part in them, 
decorating the family altar, the Christmas crib and, in May, 
the image of Mary. Even clothes for special feast days and a 
more luxurious meal on Sundays and holy days arc not without 
religious significance. The prayer-life of the family may also be 
an educative factor of decisive value. Such family prayers are : 
grace at meal-time, night prayers, the parents' blessing, for- 
tified with which the children betake themselves to bed. It is a 
great misfortune, that in the wide areas of our industrial popu- 
lation such religious traditions have been lost. Precisely for the 
sake of the children pastoral work should aim at the creation of 
new religious customs which will be apparent in the decoration 



of the homes, in the selection of prayers and in the celebration 
of the Church's feasts. 5 

As we have already noted, in this practical concept of the 
Christian liturgical heritage, there would be only a small part — 
the sacrifice of the Mass alone excepted — which would require 
special courses of instruction. This principle we would enunciate 
as follows: not much liturgies, but much liturgy, many practical 
examples of religion, in the home, in the school and in the 
church. What must be explained can usually take the form of 
incidental instruction. At the conclusion of, and in conjunction 
with, a given topic in the religion period, pertinent material 
relating to liturgical life can be taught the children. The new 
French catechism of Quinet and Boyer (1947) supplies us with 
helps pertaining to the liturgy at the end of every lesson. The 
new uniform catechism for Germany, wherever possible, offers 
the same kind of hints. The catechist is only too glad to take up 
and to develop such suggestions. In addition there will always 
be opportunities for independent liturgical instructions before 
the advent of one feast or the passing of another. 


An attempt to be comprehensive is made in the present writer's Public 
Worship (Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press). 

The following will be useful to teachers in the preparation of lessons : 
H. Chery, O.P., What is the Mass? Eng. trans. 
A. M. Roguet, O.P., Holy Mass, Approaches to the Mystery 
— , The Sacraments, Signs of Life (London : all Blackfriars Publications) 
C. W. Howell, S.J., The Work of Our Redemption (Oxford: C. S. G.) 
Denys Rutledge, O.S.B., Catechism through the Liturgy, Four parts 
(London: Douglas Organ). 

See also the Appendix in Abbreviated Catechism with Explanations 
(Burns, Oates), and the section of Catechism at Early Mass called "The 
Christian Life" (2nded.; Burns, Oates and Macmillan, 1957). Finally, 

5 Cf. for example : M. R. Newland, The Year and Our Children (New 
York: P. }. Kenedy, 1956) and T. Mueller, The Living Parish quoted in 
The Sower: "Family Feast Days" No. 192 (July, 1954), pp. 83-85. 



the special number of Lumen Vitac } Vol. 11, No. 4, which contains the 
first part of the proceedings of the International Congress on Religious 
Education held at Antwerp in 1956. The general orientation of all the 
papers in this first part of the Congress was liturgical and scriptural, the 
paper by Father Stenzel, SJ. on the liturgy and that by Rev. J. D. Crich- 
ton on "The Role of Gesture and Chant in Religious Education" may 
be referred to. 

3. Bible History 

Liturgy and religious life permit us to become acquainted with 
the deposit of faith by giving us ever new glimpses, but only 
partly its inner connection. But this is also important for 
religious training which tries to be thorough and profound. 
Whereas in the catechism we are presented with truths in a 
systematic logical form, in Bible History we are offered these 
same truths in historical dress. 

The possibility of an historical presentation is postulated by 
the very nature of Christian revelation. Christianity saw the 
light of day not as a philosophical system, but as an historical 
fact; the divine plan was disclosed gradually over periods of time. 
The historical sequence of events is a genetic development; for 
in it we can detect the gradual growth of the kingdom of God. 
We see how God himself gradually makes real the Christian 
economy of salvation — in the Old Testament preparing and lay- 
ing the foundation; in the New Testament building up and per- 
fecting it. As a consequence this method of viewing events has 
been held in high esteem from the very beginning. The Old 
Testament supplies us with historical psalms; the New Testa- 
ment constantly refers to incidents in the Old Testament, fre- 
quently narrates them with a wealth of detail (for example, the 
speech of St. Stephen, Acts, 7, 2-50): the missionary sermons of 
the Apostles are for the most part historical reports of facts, of 
things they themselves had seen and heard. And this factual 
narrative has been laid down in the Gospels. In fact, it was the 



biblical narrative which, in the first decades of Christianity, 
dominated the presentation of the Christian faith. The Fathers 
of the Church, by preference, preached Christian doctrine in a 
biblical guise. Frequently they expounded whole books of 
Sacred Scripture in the form of homilies, and by explaining the 
New Testament they also dealt with some books of the Old Te- 
stament (Origen, Chrysostom, Augustine). For catechesis Augu- 
stine favoured the narratio as an essential form of presentation. 6 

The medieval catechesis restricted itself chiefly to the liturgi- 
cal pericopes, to the events surrounding the Birth and the 
Passion of Christ. As a consequence it treated those topics with 
greater intensity. Especially remarkable is the narrative and 
teaching character of medieval church paintings dealing with 
these matters. The Christmas and Passion plays also prove how 
widely biblical knowledge was diffused and avidly absorbed. 
But at this point we must make the surprising observation that 
biblical subjects played scarcely any part in the catechesis started 
for children in the sixteenth century. This fact can be explained 
by the apologetic character of the catecheses which were then 
being given. These were concerned with the clarity of the 
notions presented and there was reluctance, due to Protestant 
abuses, to spread the use of the Bible, even in excerpt form 
among the people. Despite this, the older catechisms in general 
contain a great deal of biblical material. 

An extensive instruction on the Bible, which was at the same 
time a book to help the catechist, appeared in France 7 in 1683. 
This was Catechisme Historique by Claude Fleury. In Germany, 
after indifferent beginnings, Johann Ignaz Felbiger (1767) 

6 See above, p. 4; J. P. Christopher, "The First Catechetical Instruc- 
tion ' ' in Ancient Christian Writers (Westminster : Newman, 1 946) , especially 
p. 116. 

7 J. Hofmger, Geschichte des Katechismns, pp. 81 f. Further information 
on the beginnings of Bible History, cf. Bopp, p. 237; A. N. Fuerst, op. 
cit., Vol. II, pp. 47-48. 



produced a work of merit. The effort of Bernhard Ovcrberg, 
Biblische Geschichte des Alien unci Neuen Testamentes (1797) 
brought an awakening. The pedagogical knowledge of the 
"age of enlightenment" enabled this branch of catcchcsis to 
achieve its notable triumph. 

What was envisaged was an abridgement of Sacred Scripture 
for the use of children; in this the narrative episodes were to 
predominate. The principles by which this project were to be 
realized received definite formulation only gradually. 8 Felbiger, 
and, in his footsteps even more logically, Christoph von Schmid, 
the renowned teller of children's stories, chose texts on the 
basis of their fitness to be understood and to awaken devotion in 
the children, without paying too much attention to their 
intrinsic coherence. The latter entitled his book, concisely: 
Biblische Geschichten fur Kinder (1801). In it he permitted himself 
great latitude in the method of presentation and in the use of 
biblical vocabulary. 9 The outline sketched by Felbiger was 
adopted by Ignaz Schuster and has been followed continuously 
down to the present by Schuster-Mey, and later by Schuster- 
Mey-Knecht (1921). According to him, Bible History should 
be the servant of the catechism; it should offer the catechist 
illustrations for his catechesis by putting at his disposal suitable 
pictures and moral examples. In opposition to this interpretation 
Overberg championed another viewpoint: Bible History 
should be first of all a history of redemption. Bernhard Galura, 
later bishop of Brixen (d. 1856), expressed the same idea in the 
title of his textbook: Biblische Geschichte der Welterlosung (1806). 

The catechetical movement of our century almost unani- 
mously adopted this last mentioned solution, and for a good 

8 P. Bergmann, Lexikon der Padagogik der Gegenwart, Vol. I (1930), pp. 

9 Pictures of this kind existed in France : M. Noirleau, Bible de I'Enfance. 
Lectures amusantes stir lAncien et le Nouveau Testament (Tournai, 1854). 



reason. Today every effort must be made to reinforce the 
understanding of the basic facts of Christianity. A presentation 
of a history of redemption, which reaches its culmination in 
Christ, makes it abundantly clear that he is the chief element of 
Christian doctrine. It also demonstrates in a very emphatic 
fashion that the Christian message is rooted in the course of 
world history. At the same time the grandiose plan inherent 
in universal history is unfolded. Every event that takes place 
in the world is connected in some way or another with the 
kingdom of God, to which all men have been called. Especially 
today, when even the most remote peoples enter into the 
all-embracing purview of the child, such an all-embracing 
interpretation is of tremendous importance. 

In this way we can treat only of the most outstanding events 
of redemption : paradise, the fall, the promise of the Redeemer, 
the election of Abraham and Israel, the guidance of the Chosen 
People, the prophetic messages, and finally the coming of the 
Saviour, his work for the whole of mankind which is continued 
in and through the Church. By laying stress upon the chief 
happenings the catechist will overcome the difficulty which the 
child has in understanding an historical course of events. 
Children cannot as a rule reason historically, but in Bible 
History the catechist deals with stories which, as experience 
proves, are as easy to narrate to, and as easy to be grasped by, 
the children as any other children's story. It is with this in mind 
that the new textbooks of biblical history have been written. 
Of those which in the last decades have been used in German 
countries, the following are the most important: Jakob Ecker, 
Michael Buchberger, and the Leo Society of Vienna. Other 
attempts, such as the Schulbibel of Heinrich Stieglitz (1910), and 
the Katholische Schulbibel of Paul Bergmann (1927), have had a 
stimulating effect, but none of them has achieved widespread 
acceptance; they remain private attempts by individuals. 



It is entirely within the scope of the history of redemption 
to offer in biblical textbooks, such as the above-mentioned 
Leo-Bible and the Herder-Bible, a short resume of Church History. 
Of course this is not history in the strict sense of the term; 
that is, a true relationship which exists between cause and 
effect, but rather history in the sense of offering individual 
biographies and of presenting the outlines of the various eras 
and of tracing the fate of leading personalities who have shaped 
the course of events. In any case the children are enabled to 
obtain an inkling of how the Church has fulfilled her mission 
with the help of God, even though she has been exposed to 
untold dangers ; they are also enabled to find an explanation for 
the many extraordinary phenomena of the present day with 
which they will soon be confronted (for example, the variety 
and multiplicity both of religions, sects and of confessions). 

By stressing the history of redemption the problem of the 
choice of subject matter is solved only in one respect. Still 
another question remains: how should non-narrative passages 
of an instructional character from Sacred Scripture, be in- 
cluded in the text? The biblical textbooks which originated 
during the age of enlightenment did contain a large amount 
of non-narrative material. This was due to the fact that in 
that age preference was shown for moral instruction, and to 
the fact that in the elementary schools of that period readers 
as such were unknown. Bible History was pressed into service 
in much the same way as during the Middle Ages reading was 
taught and practised from the psalms (psalmos discere = to learn 
to read). 10 Once this function was dropped, the principle of 
selection which is contained in the name, "Bible History", has 
predominated. Since the beginning of the biblical movement, the 

10 B. Smalley, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages (rev. ed.; New 
York: Philosophical Library, 1952); J. W.Thompson, The Literacy of 
the Laity in the Middle Ages (Berkeley, Calif.: U. C. Press, 1939). 



question has been phrased anew: whether or not it suffices to 
give to children only narrative material from Sacred Scripture? 
In answering this query it should be fairly evident that the leaders 
of the movement never intended to put the entire Bible in the 
hands of the children. Even the Protestants, who regard the 
Bible as the sole rule of faith, have tended to discard this practice 
and to substitute "Bible Readers". Holy Scripture was not 
written for children (for example, note the freedom with which 
sex is treated). At graduation, however, every boy and girl 
should be given a New Testament. 11 The intention, mani- 
fest in the biblical textbooks written for the children, to in- 
clude more than mere narrative material is evident in the 
very titles of a number of books that have recently appeared. 
In this respect the Bible Histories of Ecker and Kastner should 
take precedence because they were among the first to incor- 
porate such material in their books. Extracts, in some cases 
very brief, are culled from every single book of the Bible. 
Even the illustrations in the School Bible of Ecker are for the 
most part (initial letters, paragraph headings, etc.) devoted to 
instruction or in any event to an evaluation, for didactic 
reasons, of the narrative elements. 

An important principle of selection, which may be employed 
for the narrative, as well as for the instructional, parts of Sacred 
Scripture, is the liturgical use of biblical excerpts, of biblical 
ideas and thoughts. The liturgy often employs biblical texts in 
an applied sense which for their better understanding presuppose 
a certain knowledge of the literal sense or of the original context 
(for example, readings taken from the Book of Wisdom 
on Mary's feasts). As a consequence, the more important 
pericopes of the liturgy for Sundays or holy days, important 
prophecies of the prophets etc., should find a place in Bible 

11 This was recommended by a Synod of the Diocese of Klagenfurt, 



Histories, as they do in the Bible History published by Herder. 
The same holds true also of the choice of psalms and of extracts 
from them (Ps. 42, 50, 129, etc.), with some of which the faithful 
ought to be more familiar (a task that can be done by means of a 
diocesan prayerbook). 12 

A final criterion to be used in choosing texts from the Bible, 
and one to be preferred above all the others, is the point of view 
of pedagogy, a criterion which was employed from the very 
beginning in the development of the children's Bible: "peda- 
gogy" in the sense that the mental capacity of the child is 
not gauged too narrowly, and conversely, that it be not over- 
taxed inconsiderately; "pedagogy" especially in the sense 
that it is a pedagogy of morality, offering training in virtue. 
At this age, the child has very little experience of life. Conse- 
quently, in the Bible History, typical situations to be met 
with in life should be put before him, examples of good- 
ness as well as of wickedness, but in cither case they should 
be accompanied by the judgement which God has pronounced 
on them. With this in mind, it will be found worthwhile to 
retain certain episodes, as for example, the story of the Egyptian 
Joseph, which although they contribute little to the history of 
redemption, do illustrate moral conduct. 

For pedagogical reasons as well as for motives derived from 
child psychology, it has been found useful to grade Bible 
Histories; for example, one for primary, and another for the 
intermediate grades and a third for the junior high level. This 
was done in the older textbooks and more recently in the 
School Bible of Eckcr. This presupposes, however, that graded 
catechisms are available. For the children on the primary level 

12 Some stimulating suggestions have been offered by Richard Beron, 
With the Bible through the Church Year (New York: Pantheon, 1953). 
Recommendations much more developed were offered by Kl. Tilmann , 
"Eine zcitgemaBc Schnlbibel" in KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), pp. 156-162. 



this cannot be done. Moreover, a special book for the inter- 
mediate grades is superfluous. School Bibles should, therefore, 
generally be edited for the junior high level. And this is justi- 
fiable even on the assumption that the time available is not 
sufficient for an exhaustive treatment in the course of the 
instructions. A Bible text book, however, may and should 
serve as reading matter in the home. 

For the youngsters in the primary grades, this biblical textbook 
should take the form of a Religion Book. To the single excerpts 
of the biblical narrative should be appended at appropriate 
places as many of the doctrines of the catechism as are deemed 
necessary for the children to know at this age level. Indeed, 
at this stage, all the basic teachings relating to God and to the 
world, to the body and to the soul, to good and to evil, to the 
fall and the economy of redemption, can be presented in a much 
more effective way through the first chapters of the Old Testa- 
ment, than through an abstract presentation. The same is true 
of the mystery of redemption in the New Testament. The 
idea for a book of this kind was first suggested by Wilhelm 
Pichler at the Catechetical Congress in Vienna in 1912. This 
able catechist showed how this suggestion could be in- 
corporated into a book by offering his own text as a model. 13 His 
example was imitated elsewhere very quickly. 14 

13 Refcratc Acs Kongresses filr Katechctik (Vienna, 1912) : Part I (Vienna, 
1912), pp. 54-172. This draft corresponds in substance with the book 
which appeared first in 1913 and then later in many different printings 
and languages. This work was especially welcomed in mission countries 
and according to Orbis Catholicus, Vol. 4 (1950/51), it has been translated 
into 54 languages. Consult F. Jachym, "Wilhelm Pichler. Sein Leben 
und Werk" in Katechetischc Besinnung (Vienna, 1951), pp. 19-22. 

14 The Katholische Religionsbiichlein filr Ale GrunAschule of Karl Raab 
was adopted by Bavaria in 1927. Under the title, Katholische s Gottlehr- 
bilchlcin, it was accepted by the Archdiocese of Freiburg, but only after 
it had been revised. L. Grimm wrote a practical handbook to be used in 
conjunction with it: Praktisches HanAbuch zmn Katholische n Gottlehrbiich- 



In what concerns the language of the Bible History, in the 
selection of excerpts there should be no departure from the 
wording of a good translation except when these are likely to 
be understood only with difficulty by the children. Such diffi- 
culties may be encountered as a result of the great disparity in 
the culture which is described and in the incidents which arc 
narrated. These discrepancies become less important when we 
remember that the great majority of the events took place in a 
"patriarchal" environment, hence generally under conditions 
which are common to all mankind and can be easily under- 

For a long time now it has been taken for granted that the 
biblical narrative should be accompanied by pictures. On this 
point, however, it is necessary to formulate certain demands 
which must be fulfilled. Choosing great masterpieces does not 
answer the requirements. Why not? Because the pictures in the 
School Bible should be uniform, that is to say, the same person 
should always be represented by the same face. Furthermore, 
the pictures should lend substance to the story. As the psychology 
of the school child demands, these pictures should supply 
many supplementary details with great distinctness; unusual 
notions (a tent, palm branches, sepulchres hewn out of rock) 
should be clarified through them. To achieve these objec- 
tives, that sober realism which singles out and employs only 
pictures which are archaeologically true must be avoided. 
Particularly in the likenesses of holy personages in particular, 
the mystery of their lives which is inaccessible to historical 
empiricism, should in some fashion or another filter through to 

Icin (Freiburg: Herder, 1950). In the U. S. A. the adoption of books in 
general for school use, and especially a Bible History, is left to the indi- 
vidual Ordinary, who usually acts through his superintendent of schools. 
As a consequence, many different Bible Histories and religion series are 
in use at die present time. Of the great number of such Bible Histories cf. 
A. N. Fuerst, op. cit., Vol. II (1946), pp. 49-58. 



the reader. From the standpoint of technique, a lineal method 
of drawing rather than paintings which are conceived solely 
for their colour schemes, best meets the condition which we 
have laid down. Colour, which as a matter of fact greatly 
enhances the pleasure children derive from pictures, should be 
striking. As products, which fit all the requirements, and are 
prized at the same time as works of art, we may mention the 
pictures of Philip Schumacher, and for more advanced tastes, 
those of Gebhard Fugel. 

The history and development of Bible History in the United 
States is both interesting and involved. In the nineteenth century 
the various dioceses used translations of those histories which had 
been well received in the Old World. Among the earliest of 
this kind was M. Fleury's, Catechisme Historiquc which was 
either translated outright or cleverly adapted (Bishop Cheverus, 
Gahan). In addition some school systems used versions of the 
more popular German works, some of which have already 
been mentioned, for example, Mey, Ecker, Walther, and 
Knecht. Of English and American origin the works of Milner, 
Noethen, Sadlier and Reeve achieved some degree of recognition 
and acceptance. 

In the twentieth century due to the growth of the Church 
and its school system, as well as to the fact that the various 
diocesan school systems usually adopt textbooks which best 
fit their syllabuses, a goodly number of Bible Histories are 
currently being used. Chronologically of an earlier date, but 
still unusually (and for good reason) popular is Bishop Gilmour's 
little volume. Enjoying public favour are the works of: Newton- 
Horan, G.Johnson and J. Hannan and Sr. Dominica, McDonald 
and Jackson, S. A. Raemers. 

Some of these texts incorporate very little of the exact 
wording of Sacred Scriptures in their composition, for example, 
Johnson, Hannan ct al. In this respect they differ from the attempt 



made by Mother Eaton and J. Hart who, in giving the children 
an abridged edition of the Bible, have conscientiously retained the 
terminology and the flavour of both Testaments; they differ 
also from such compositions as for example, Newton-Horan. 

The purposes which these histories serve actually varies a 
great deal. Some are designed to be simply readers (Jen- 
nings) ; others have as their objective the unity of the plan of 
redemption and its fulfillment in the Testaments which have been 
given us (Martindale, Sidney) ; still others are scarcely more 
than biographies of scriptural characters (Petersham, Williams). 

Most of these books are richly and in most instances correctly 
illustrated. Both in the drawings and in the use of colour all of the 
acceptable canons for children's interests and tastes have been ob- 
served. Garishness has been avoided, but the advance which may 
be noted on the continent in regard to the conception of figures 
and the sketching of events is still lacking for better or worse. 15 

Since the publication of A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture in 1953 
(London: Thomas Nelson and Sons) Catholic teachers have a source to 
go to for fundamental information. Articles such as "The Place of the 
Bible in the Church", "The Interpretation of Holy Scripture" and "The 
History of Israel" for the O.T. and "The Person and Teaching of our 
Lord Jesus Christ" and "Christianity in Apostolic Times" for the N.T. 
will give them much useful material. 

The series of Scripture Textbooks edited by Mgr. J. M. T. Barton is 
intended to cover the whole ground for children from the age of eleven 
to seventeen: 

P. J. Crean, A Short Life of our Lord 
Hubert van Zeller, O.S.B., Old Testament Stories 
T. E. Bird, A Study of the Gospels 
S. Bullough, O.P., The Church in the New Testament 
R. A. Dyson, S.J., and A. Jones, The Kingdom of Promise (O.T.) 

15 As other pictures worthy of special consideration we can name 
those of A. and E. Seeger in Beron (see footnote No. 12). Further con- 
siderations on this subject: Bopp, pp. 241 f. 



S. Bullough, O.P., Christian Teaching in St. Paul and the Apostolic Age (Lon- 
don: all Burns, Oates) 
General introduction to N.T. : 

Maisie Ward, They Saw his Glory (Sheed & Ward) 
Helps to reading the Bible : 

Guide to the Bible, by the Monks of Maredsous (Sands, Eng. trans.) 

How to Read the Bible, by R. Poelnian (Longmans, Eng. trans.) 
Lives of our Lord for young children (apart from Crean above) : 

Marigold Hunt, Life of Our Lord for Children (Sheed 6c Ward) 

A. Boyer, The Story of Jesus (Longmans, Eng. trans.) 

Lumen Vitae, special number on the Bible, Vol. 10, 1 (1955): The Bible, 
History of Salvation. 

See also Lumen Vitae, Vol. 11,4: "Religious Education Today", papers by 
Dr. Arnold, Father Poelman, and Father Tilmann. 

The Sower, Nos. 170, 171, "How shall we teach the Old Testament?" 
by J. D. Crichton. 

Heinisch, Paul, Christ in Prophecy 

— , Llistory of the Old Testament 

— , Theology of the Old Testament (Collegeville, Minn, all: The Litur- 
gical Press, 1950-56) 

Charlier, Celestin, The Christian Approach to the Bible (Westminster, 
Mi: Newman Press, 1958) 

Sullivan, Kathryn, God's Word and Work (Collegeville, Minn. : The Lit- 
urgical Press, 1958) 

Bible in the Church (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1959). 

4. The Catechism 

In logical sequence and in well-rounded systematic form the 
catechism presents to us the doctrine of redemption. Such a 
presentation is possible and after a fashion is also necessary, 
because the essence of Christian doctrine demands it. If Chris- 
tianity was only an incident in the past, an historical narrative 
of its origin, a tale of its successes or failures, would suffice. 
If conversely it is looked upon as a phenomenon of the present, 
but intended to satisfy religious edification only, in addition 
to a narrative all that would be required would be a study of 
customs and liturgy. Christianity must, however, lay the founda- 
tion for life and be a rule of conduct. As a consequence of 



the successes and failures, of the zeniths and the nadirs of the 
narrative, and of the variety of usages, we must draw those 
facets which embrace everything to which we hold fast, 
everything which supplies our life with its essential meanings 
and its moral norms. From facts in the history of redemption 
and from the relationships with God that result from them, 
there emerges a method of presentation which is arranged 
according to themes, a presentation which is at the same time 
determined by the fundamental plan of redemption itself. This 
leads to systematic summary whose extent and characteristics 
vary according to need. 

A certain systematization cannot be divorced from Chris- 
tianity. Even in the liturgy and still more in the history of 
redemption there are indications of an inner world. For this 
reason we can combine for the children systematic teaching 
with an historical narrative. This systematic aspect reveals 
the great superiority of the Christian religion. Nothing similar 
to it can be found in ancient religions. These on examina- 
tion dissolve into a myriad of myths. This synthesis is missing, 
for example, also in Buddhism, which at most leads only to a 
negation. In Christianity ecclesiastical writers began very 
early to phrase the essential outlines of revealed truth in set 
formulas, in short dogmatic statements. These formulations 
appear from the very outset, for example, in the epistles of the 
Apostles. In the formulas of greetings, which appear in the 
prefaces of these letters, we recognize a God-Christ confronta- 
tion and are made aware of the Passion and Resurrection of 
Christ as the source of redemption. Here and there, as, for 
example, in 1 Cor. 15, 3f., a synthesis of this kind is presented to 
the readers as an already existing tradition. In connection with the 
moral law, we can discern in the Doctrine of the Two Ways 
its primitive Christian formulation. It is an exaggeration, 
when the Protestant theologian Alfred Seeberg, in daring 



contrast to the older explanations that had been offered, tried 
to show that, "soon after the death of Christ there appeared 
a catechism which was composed from the words of Our 
Lord". 16 Perhaps, by such a statement he wished only to show 
that the Gospels themselves reveal such a synopsis, whose 
concise outlines are sketched in the preaching of the Apostles. 17 

With good reason we may designate the Apostles' Creed 
as the first catechism. Just as this presents us with a synopsis 
of the early Christian catechesis on our faith, so also the cate- 
chumenate and catechesis eventually hastened the formulation 
of still further summaries, some rigid, others more flexible. 18 
In this sense we can speak of a Christian kerygma or of a 
kerygmatic synthesis. 19 

A more novel type of summary or of systematization is 
given to us in the polemico-scientific dogmatic treatises which 
deal with articles of faith that had been called into question by 
the various controversies with the heretics. Whatever the 
Fathers wrote in connection with these controversial subjects, 
especially, concerning the Trinity and grace, but also whatever 
they developed in their exegesis of Holy Scripture, has been 
woven into the fabric of Catholic thought in the Libri Senten- 
tiarum at the dawn of Scholasticism and eventually into the 
Summas. With these begins the golden era of theology or the 
age of scientific compilations. In them stands not only the 
solution to the problems connected with the foundation and 

16 A. Seeberg, Der Katechismus der Urchristenheit (Leipzig: A. Deichert, 
1903). The question was taken up anew by N. A. Dahl, "Anamnesis" in 
Studia theologica, Vol. I (Lund, 1948), pp. 69-95, especially p. 77, foot- 
note 3, where literature on the subject may be found. P. Carrington, 
The Primitive Christian Catechism (Cambridge: University Press, 1940). 

17 Acts 2, 22-36; 4, 8-12; 5, 30-32; 10, 34-43; 13, 16-41. 

18 See above, pp. 4-13. 

19 Further particulars on the notion of kerygma will be found at the 
end of the book in Appendix II. 



with the norms of Christian life, but also everything that, by the 
aid of reason, both regular and deductive, could be gathered 
from the sources of revelation. This preoccupation with a 
systematic presentation of revealed truth is no longer so im- 
portant for the layman as it is for priests. Through this means 
he can make himself independent of the more fortuitous and 
imaginative formulations of revealed truth. He should be in a 
position to adapt the formulated doctrine to the conditions in 
which he finds himself so as to be able to help the faithful 
more effectively. 

For the simple faithful, and consequently for the catechism, 
what is necessary is the kerygmatic synthesis which has a 
practical life-value because it indicates the way which the 
Christian must follow to reach God. In the actual history of 
the catechisms, by force of circumstances, it has not been possible 
to bring about a complete separation between the scientific 
and kerygmatic synopsis. The catechisms which saw the light 
of day during the Reformation were forced by necessity to 
erect barriers against heresy. These were emergency structures, 
for which their authors had to requisition material ready at 
hand, for example, in the numerous enumerations found in the 
catecheses of the preceding centuries, in the definitions of 
scholastic theology. Diamond-sharp concepts and strict emphasis 
on the doctrinal differences were of utmost importance. Biblical 
phraseology softened the harshness and lessened the rigidity 
of the formulas, especially in Canisius' catechisms. 

But even in the subsequent periods a well-ordered systemati- 
zation was not created out of these emergency synopses. 20 

20 The history of the various catechisms in Germany has been almost 

completed in the course of the last few decades, at least in all that concerns 

its external development. F. X. Thalhofer, Entwicklung des katholischen 

Katechismus in Deutschland von Canisius his Deharhe (Freiburg: Herder, 

1899); W. Busch, Der Weg des deutschen Katechismus von Deharhe his zum 



In the following centuries theological material began to 
increase more and more — since these centuries witnessed a 
renewed interest in theology — first of all in the commentaries 
on the catechism, and later on in the catechisms themselves. 
Definitions from theology, and casuistry taken from moral 
theology, were injected into the catechisms. 21 

The religious pedagogy of the age of enlightenment, con- 
versely, made a definite stand against such practices ; the authori- 
ties in the field demanded that more attention be paid to the 
mental capacity of the children (captum). There appeared, as 
a consequence, various attempts to offer a catechism which 
presented doctrine not in the form of abstract notions, but 
more in the form of induction and narration. 22 None of these 
experiments succeeded in gaining wide acceptance. Even the 
catechism of Hirscher was used only in his own diocese of 
Freiburg, and even there only for a short time. The pedagogues 
of the period suffered more and more from the confusion that 
had been occasioned by the new catechisms. Consequently 
they deviated more drastically from them, especially when they 
detected in them those evil tendencies of the "age of enlight- 

Einheit skate chismus (Freiburg: Herder, 1936); J. Schmitt, Der Kampf urn 
den Katechismus in der Aufklarungsperiode Dentschlands (Munch en : R. Glden- 
bourg, 1935); J. Hofmger, Geschichte des Katechismus in Osterreich von 
Canisius bis zur Gegenwart (Innsbruck: F. Rauch, 1937); F. Weber, Ge- 
schichte des Katechismus in der Diozese Rottenburg (Freiburg: Herder, 1939). 

21 Hofmger, pp. 7f. ; Thalhofer, op. cit., pp. 24 ff. and pp. 55 f. 

22 To this category belong the catechisms of B. Overberg (2nd ed., 
1804), B. Galura (1806), J. Weber (1814). Most successful was the historico- 
inductive form employed in the catechism of J. B. Hirscher (1842), 
who made the divine economy of redemption the focal point of his devel- 
opment. Consult the theoretical considerations which moved him to 
adopt such a plan: Hirscher, Katechetik, pp. 120 ff. and pp. 167f. The 
start of the movement to formulate a catechism on historical principles 
was made in France: Cl. Fleury, Catcchisme Historique (1683). Compare 
Thalhofer, op. cit., pp. 102rT. 



enment" which had wreaked such devastation among the 

From the year 1847 onward the catechisms of Josef De- 
harbe, S.J. appeared. They soon found ready acceptance in a 
majority of the dioceses in Germany. They excelled by reason of 
their clear logical arrangement and by reason of the completeness 
and the correctness of their doctrine, which w^as presented in 
simple, concise language. In these was effected the return to the 
earlier " theologizing" kind of a catechesis, it is true, but with 
many improvements. It is, however, worthy of note, that the 
Deharbe Catechisms never were able to infiltrate into the 
Austro-Hungarian Empire. There the Catechism of 1777, 
which had originated in the circle which gathered around Abbot 
Felbiger, and combined the traditional theological content with 
certain didactic improvements, was retained during the decades 
of the age of enlightenment. What Deharbe had brought back 
from the past was still in essentials to be found in Felbiger's 
effort. Thus it was that in Austria this Catechism of 1777 was 
employed for as long as that of Deharbe was able to retain its 
popularity on German soil. At the turn of the century a reform 
took place in Austria as well as in Germany which, however, 
was concerned only with minor improvements within the old 
pattern. 23 

23 In 1894 a new catechism was approved for Austria; it was a revision 
of an older catechism for which Deharbe had been used as a model. 
Its object was greater theological clarity; Homager, pp. 273 ff. A 
revision of the Deharbe catechism undertaken by J. Linden was 
introduced into various dioceses of Southern Germany after 1900. 
This catechism attempted to simplify language to meet the require- 
ments of the children ; Busch, op. cit., pp. 56 ff. Linden was of the opinion, 
however, that the catechism must of necessity be "dry in content and 
of only limited interest to the children". In the U.S.A. the attempts 
made by Fander, Kelly, Deck, Newman and others were in the same 
direction. The new revision of the Baltimore Catechism is an attempt 
to meet the demands that were made in as satisfactory a manner as 



A solution of grandiose proportion, which in the interim 
formed the topic of much discussion, was never realized. 
At the Vatican Council of 1870 a plan was suggested to create 
a uniform catechism for the whole of Christendom, a universal 
catechism, for which the Catechism of Robert Bellarmine 
would serve as basis. In this sense there was presented a schema 
constitutionis de parvo Catechismo, for and against which 41 
different speeches were delivered. In general the plan found a 
favourable reception, but it was decided, that the bishops of the 
various countries should be permitted a certain latitude in trans- 
lating the Latin basic text and in adding an appendix, if they 
saw fit. A definitive decision, however, was not reached. 24 

Later attempts of the same kind to produce a universal cate- 
chism (namely, the two catechisms which were drawn up at the 
request of Pius X, 25 and the catechism of Cardinal Gasparri 26 ) 

possible. German catechisms have also appeared in English : J. Linden, 
Catechism of Christian Doctrine (6th ed. ; Catechism of Christian Doctrine, 
1934); J. Deharbe (translated by J. Fander), A Catechism of Christian 
Doctrine. Revised and adapted to the New Code of Canon Law (New York : 
F. Pustet, n. d.). 

24 C. Butler, The Vatican Council, 2 vols. (Longmans, Green, 1930), 
Vol. I, pp. 228-232; Busch, op. cit., pp. 114-116. 

25 His first catechism which was prescribed for the ecclesiastical 
province of Rome appeared in 1905. A second and thoroughly revised 
edition was in 1912 again prescribed for the province of Rome and 
recommended for use by the other dioceses of Italy. An English trans- 
lation was made by J. Hagen under the title: Catechism of Christian 
Doctrine (Dublin: M. H. Gill, 1914). His monumental work: Compendium 
of Catechetical Instruction, 4 vols. (New York: Benziger Bros., 1928); see 
Vol. I, pp. lv-lviii for mention of St. Pope Pius X's catechism. 

26 Catechismus Catholicus, Rome, 1930. A translation appeared in 
English (exclusive translation by H. Pope), The Catholic Catechism 
(New York: P. J. Kenedy, 1932). A graded catechism in three volumes 
based on this catechism was written by Fr. Kirsch and Sr. Brendan, 
The Catholic Faith Explained (New York : P. J. Kenedy). This catechism of 
Gasparri is the work of a commission which was set up by Pope Benedict 
XV for the purpose of composing a universal (uniform) catechism. The 



were never intended to be obligatory for the entire Church. 
These attempts were designed to furnish knowledge of religious 
truth as broadly and as clearly as possible in language that 
children could understand. 

At the turn of the century the "Catechetical Movement" gained 
momentum. This movement brought in its wake a very vocal 
criticism of the catechisms then in use. They were deplored 
because they were too rich in content. It was contended that 
only the more gifted children could possibly learn them by 
heart, and even if they did, they would never be able to under- 
stand them. A second complaint was directed against the all too 
rational theological treatment of the subject matter; the "prac- 
tical application" appended at the very end of each lesson could 
not be accepted as an adequate substitute for ethical and moral 
values which were lacking. 

In addition the educative factor in the teaching of morality 
appeared to be lacking: too much attention was paid to the 
enumeration and description of sins and too little to the training 
of the spirit in Christian ideals. 

To these objections the new catechism ventured solutions. 
This catechism appeared after several years (1925) and was 
called a uniform German catechism because of its acceptance by 
practically all the German dioceses — only Freiburg and Rotten- 
burg 27 were exceptions. The Austrian dioceses, which at the 
outset had intended to accept the solution which the Germans 

results of its labours were published, however, only under the name of 
Cardinal Gasparri who had presided over its sessions. As was reported 
in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 5 (1950), p. 522, this catechism was adopted by 
the Mexican Episcopacy. The trial was not over successful. As a conse- 
quence, the book itself was dropped in a majority of the dioceses. 

27 The catechism of the diocese of Rottenburg which was revised in 
1920 represents a happy evolution of the work which Ignaz Schuster 
published in 1844; it was (at least in part) in use in the German cantons 
of Switzerland. 



would offer, in the end attempted their own reform with 
the same ideas in mind, but on the basis of the Austrian cate- 
chetical tradition. The result of their efforts is the Austrian 
catechism of 1930. 28 

The change that meets the eye most forcefully in both these 
catechisms is the noticeable reduction in the amount of matter 
to be memorized; there remained only some 300 questions, 
that is practically only half of the earlier number. In place of 
these, explanations were inserted between the questions, more 
extensively than in the earlier Deharbe. This was not required to 
be learned by heart. Other criticisms that had been voiced were 
also accorded attention. In addition the liturgical movement 
exercised considerable influence on its composition. The Mass 
and the liturgical year were explained very fully; Holy Com- 
munion was treated in connection with the Sacrifice of the 
Mass as the sacrificial Meal. 

From the very beginning this German uniform catechism was 
conceived only as a preliminary step to the full solution; it would 
have to be tested by experience, by daily use, and in this fashion 
pave the way for a definitive future text. Soon after its appear- 
ance criticism was voiced on practically all sides. These ob- 
jections were collected by the German Catechetical Society 29 

28 This catechism retains among other matters the order and the 
titles of the three chief sections which Canisius had introduced: Faith and 
Creed, Hope and Prayer, Charity and the Commandments, to which 
was added the further chief section, that of Grace and the means of Grace. 
This division is also basic to the Christian doctrine of St. Thomas (see 
above, p. 15). This goes back to the Enchiridion, sive de fide, spe et 
caritate of Saint Augustine. With the difference, however, that St. Augustine 
never developed the teaching of hope and of charity as main headings 
in his work, but introduced them as the fruits and the culmination of faith. 

29 The essentials published in Katechetische Blatter, mainly since 1933; 
a part of the criticism was put in the form of independent drafts of 
possible catechisms. A conspectus of all of them is offered in summary 
form in Bopp, pp. 26 Iff. 



and presented to various episcopal committees. It soon became 
evident that it would not suffice simply to emend the text. As a 
consequence the Bishops' Conference at Fulda in 1938 set up a 
commission which was to undertake the preliminary spadework 
on an entirely new catechism. In the previous criticisms which 
were evaluated as well as in the deliberations and discussions 
which ensued, 30 we can detect the outlines of an ideal catechism 
which went far beyond the kind of catechism that had been 
envisaged up to that point, and which necessitates a closer 
examination. In this examination we shall deal with the ques- 
tions of external organization as well as with the questions 
of internal form. 

Questions of External Organization 

At the outset we are justified in proposing several questions. 
Is a catechism conceived as a systematic exposition of Chris- 
tian doctrine in any way possible for children? Is it not a hin- 
drance rather than an aid to their religious training? Children 
learn only words which they quickly forget. To these questions 
we answer with a distinction: for children up to approximately 
ten years of age a catechism should not even be considered. This 
desired objective has been realized in Canon Drinkwater's 
Sower System. ("For the Junior classes, ages 8-11, knowledge 
of the catechism text as such is not prescribed by the Scheme, 
and any systematic learning of the full catechism at this stage 
is entirely against the spirit of the Scheme.") A religious 
booklet of some kind, in which the elements of indispensable 
doctrines are contained, is more in conformity with their psycho- 
logical ability to grasp truth. In such a booklet everything 
necessary in the way of doctrine could be interwoven into the 

30 Consult the brochure of G. Gotzel, An f dew Weg zu eincm neuen 
Katechisums (Freiburg: Herder, 1944). 



narrative presentation of the history of redemption. 31 For the 
upper-grades, that is to say, for children from 10-14 years of 
age, a catechism can and should be used. From a purely psycho- 
logical viewpoint it would be desirable to defer its use for at 
least two more years, because actually it is only with the advent 
of adolescence that the ability to grasp larger relationships, the 
spirit of synthesis, develops and becomes evident. 32 But we 
cannot think of offering this solution, because the time necessary 
to give a thorough treatment of the catechism can no longer be 
found in the school years which remain — and it is only upon 
them that we can count. 

If we admit that a child's catechism is possible, we must 
still ask a further question. Is it necessary? Isn't such a book of 
precisely formulated definitions justified only in times of 
controversy, such as was carried on during the sixteenth cen- 
tury and after? After all, there was no such book used during 
the previous centuries. To this we must reply that in less ad- 
vanced societies it is quite possible to work without a systematic 
catechism and to base teaching purely on a book portraying 
the story of the redemption. 33 In a period, however, in which the 
general education of masses has been raised to such a high level 
as a result of compulsory schooling, we cannot dispense with a 
thorough and complete education, especially in religion; at the 
present time much less so, because all barriers have broken 
down. Even the most simple Catholic is incessantly exposed to 

31 See above, p. 85. 

32 Compare this with the brochure mentioned in the above: Auj 
dem Wege zu einem neuen Katechismus, p. 39. 

33 In mission countries it appears actually that the missionaries have 
turned to such a solution. Nothing else would explain the rapid diffusion 
of the religion book of W. Pichler: see above footnote p. 110. Consult 
also the judgement which J. Hofinger passes on it in KBl, Vol. 67 (1941), 
pp. 96 f. The missionaries also seem to think that a book of this kind 
suffices for part-time students, cf. Bopp, pp. 388 f. 



all types of ideologies current in the world, especially when 
through a war, deportation or emigration — he is suddenly 
thrown into an entirely new and perhaps hostile environment. 
This need becomes still more imperative by reason of errors 
undermining the very foundations of civilization. To counter- 
act such influences it is not necessary that all the details of the 
Christian religion should become the conscious possession of the 
pupils, but its broadest outlines should. To etch such outlines 
in their minds, there is scarcely any aid more suitable and any 
help more indispensable than the clear systematization of the 
catechism. 34 

34 Another problem is to know whether this book ought to have the 
character of a text to be remembered. Raab, pp. 3-87, seeks to show that 
for a long time the catechism was a book intended for the teacher, as it 
had been in the days of Luther. In the era of enlightenment it became a 
reader for the pupils. Deharbe was the first to make it a manual. Raab 
refuses to admit that the catechism should be a book filled with texts to 
be memorized (pp. 144f). Memorization should rather be required in the 
form of a profession of faith and of prayer as it was in antiquity. The 
text to be learned by heart (which should be uniform for the entire 
Church, and should in this way become a universal catechism) should be 
in the form of a Creed divided into articles and should be put into a 
prayerbook or a manual of devotion, as had been done in the catechisms 
of Canisius. — This idea, right in itself, is justified by the fact that catechesis 
itself — as we shall see later — turns the memory passages into prayer and 
aims at maintaining and strengthening faith. — The role of "reader" (for 
the home) is restored to the catechism by the "lesson-unit'' catechism. 
Certain works destined for both young and old embody these points, 
e.g., F. M. "Willam, Unser Weg zu Gott (Innsbruck: Tyrolia, 1951); 
A. Hildenbrand, Hausbuch der christlichcn Unterweisung (Freiburg : Flerder, 
1951), both of which in their own way do justice to the principles of the 
inner structure of the catechism. In the U.S.A. the religion series, W. R. 
Kelly, et ah, Living My Religion, 8 vols. (New York: Benziger Bros.) and 
E. Fitzpatrick (ed.), Highway to Heaven, 8 vols. (Milwaukee: Bruce) 
are readers that all can use, for they are adapted to the mental capacity 
of the children and to their vocabulary in the various grades. C. E. 
El well, et ah, Our Quest for Happiness (Chicago : Mentzer, Bush) are meant 
to form the nucleus of a religion library in the home. 



In so far as the didactic arrangement of the catechism is con- 
cerned, the question we should ask ourselves is: whether the 
traditional question and answer form of the catechism should be 
retained. Precisely because of this form, it frequently appears as 
if the catechism had become the handmaid of "parrot learning", 
which can answer questions only if they are formulated in 
a certain way. Moreover, if it is employed in connection 
with minor details of subject matter, the question destroys 
the inner coherence and cohesion of the thought. In the 
course of the centuries the plea has been made to drop 
the question form entirely. Sporadically one or the other 
catechism has attempted to eliminate it, especially during the age 
of enlightenment. 35 Hirscher himself was averse to the question 
form; but when he himself embarked on his own catechism, 
he clung to the question and answer. As an excuse for his action 
he gave the pointed reply: 36 "because only questions can 
fix the subject matter of the instruction on the mind and hold 
the attention of the children." A still further reason is simply: 
tradition has never jettisoned them. In the first centuries of her 
existence the Church required the prospective candidates for 
Baptism to make a profession of faith by answering certain 
questions — a custom she still preserves today: "Dost thou believe 
in God, the Father Almighty?" The question was taken for 
granted in the Middle Ages, when the pastor examined the 
godparent, or the confessor his penitent, on his knowledge of 
the faith. 37 Textbooks were written witli this in mind. Thus, 
the very first catechisms stemming from Protestant as well as 

35 Thalhofer, op. cit. } p. 230, names the catechisms of Grill (1789), 
Stattler (1794), Schneider (1790), Rumpler (1802), as well as the one 
adopted for Freising (1812). The catechism ofGalura should be included in 
this category. — In modern times the Czech catechism (1919) dispensed 
with the question and answer form. 

36 Zur Verst'dndigung fiber den . . . Katechismus (Tubingen, 1842), II. 

37 Cf. above pp. 11-15. 



from Catholic sources appeared in question and answer form. 
In them the question is frequently ascribed to the child as a 
query addressed to the teacher (Witzel, Bellarmine) or is made 
to appear as discussion carried on by pupils among themselves 
in the form of problems and rejoinders. 38 Question and answer 
served to imprint the sound of the word upon the mind by 
means of the memory, by which it was thought that faith 
itself would be made secure. 

That this question and answer form, so much attacked during 
the age of enlightenment, should no longer predominate, was a 
conclusion arrived at gradually in the succeeding centuries. 
Deharbe repeatedly inserted texts from Sacred Scripture as well 
as other complementary matter between the various questions. 
In the German uniform catechism as well as in the Austrian 
Catechism of 1930 the interpolated matter formed practically 
half of the content of the entire catechism. 

In the United States in addition to the catechisms translated 
from the German in which explanatory material from Scripture 
and other sources was interpolated, certain others, native in 
origin, inserted scriptural as well as explanatory material between 
the various questions and answers, for example, as early as 
Kinkead, and then in E. M. Deck and the works of Kirsch- 
Brendan. But even before the appearance of these catechisms, 
the foremost representatives of the "Catechetical Movement", 
who sought to improve catechetical method, proposed an even 
more radical solution: a catechism in "lesson units". And they 
were able at the same time to show how such a project could 
be realized by offering a finished product of such a catechism. 39 

38 F. J. Peters, "Der 'fraglose' Katechismus" KBl (1941), pp. 177-184. 

39 H. Stieglitz, Grosseres Religionsbikhlein (Kernpten: Kosel, 1916; 2nd 
ed. 1919); Stieglitz published a Religionshuchlcin fiir die Kleinen as 
early as 1915; W. Pichler, Katechismus der katholischcn Religion (Vienna, 



By such a proposal they meant a catechism in which the subject 
matter is divided into "lesson units" (which did not necessarily 
imply that each lesson of the catechism corresponds to such a 
unit) within which the matter is presented in a free but coherent 
fashion. In such a catechism it was never intended to suppress the 
question entirely, but merely to relegate it to the end of the 
lesson, either with or without the addition of the answer. In 
early times catechisms based on lesson units had actually appear- 
ed but only in isolated instances. 40 Today, in many respects 
it is gaining ground. 41 Its advantages are obvious : the catechism 
loses its earlier tediousness and dryness; acquiring a knowledge 
of its content becomes easier, and the cooperation of the parents 
in teaching religion at home is made lighter by not restricting it 
merely to asking the children to repeat the answer which they 
had first to memorize. 

These advantages were already present in that undeveloped 
form which the "lesson units" had in their original version. 
The catechism is no longer merely a book to be known by 
heart; it is also a well-arranged and easily readable presentacion 
of Christian doctrine in which emotive values are not wanting. 
But these definite advantages can be increased still more by 

40 The catechism of Fleury (1683) and Pouget, both of France 
(1702), may also be inserted here; in Germany, the large Sagancr Katechis- 
inus of B. Straucli (1766). — Cf. Hofmger, pp. 48 f. along with footnote 20. 

41 F. M. Willam, Katechetische Erneuerung (Innsbruck: Tyrolia, 1946); 
F. M. Willam, Der Lehrstiick-Katechi sinus als ein Trager der katechetischen 
Erneuerung (Freiburg: Herder, 1949). Review of this work by C. J. 
Fuerst, Theological Studies, Vol. 12 (1951), pp. 134-136.— The first 
territory into which the lesson-unit catechism succeeded in gaining entry 
was the diocese of Brixen and the diocese of Trent in South Tyrol, 
which adopted the catechism of W. Pichler for the German speaking 
children there around 1933. There followed in turn the catechism of the 
French cantons in Switzerland, the uniform (national) French catechism 
and now the German catechism. — The Bishops of Austria authorized 
the preparation of a new catechism in lesson-unit format in 1950. 



adapting its content to the psychology of the child and by mak- 
ing its purpose more practical. The catechism can and should 
become a book which by reason of its varied forms of presen- 
tation is able to reach the various psychological types among 
the children, and can and should be capable of being employed 
with profit in even the most difficult circumstances without 
assuming any special didactic gifts on the part of the teacher. 

In France, Quinet and Boyer broke new ground along these 
lines when they published their version of the French uniform 
catechism in 1938-40. Their catechism is illustrated; in fact, 
each unit is preceded by a coloured picture, which not infre- 
quently, anticipating the text, covers at least a third of the first 
page. The text begins with a narrative or descriptive account 
which is generally taken from Sacred Scripture, usually from the 
Gospels, but in isolated instances also from the life of the Church. 
After this there follow questions without answers. They serve 
to provoke reflection on the preceding text. In the lesson dealing 
with the forgiveness of sin, after the parable of the Good Shep- 
herd, we find the following questions. To what does Christ 
compare the faithful? With what did the Pharisees reproach 
Jesus? What does the parable of the lost sheep prove? Then the 
true "le$on" with questions and answers (the latter in bold- 
faced print) follows as the second main section. The conclusion 
takes the form of a practical discussion embodying a series of 
hints, its outline reappears each time in exactly the same way: 
For my Life — Prayer (generally a short formula) — Liturgy — 
Exercise (in this lesson: search the Gospels for all those texts in 
which Our Saviour shows his mercy for sinners) — Applied 
Tasks (drawing: barren fig tree, lost sheep, lost drachma, 
prodigal son) — Word of God (a text of Sacred Scripture). 

In the Adaptive Way 42 recommended for the use of the 

42 Sr. M. Rosalia, The Adaptive Way of Teaching Confraternity Classes 
(St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1955), pp. 16-17. 



Teachers in the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine and also 
in its Manuals 43 the following points are stressed: story, picture, 
doctrine, practice, prayer. In the series of textbooks appearing 
under the title Living My Religion, we find positive presentation 
which may or may not begin with a scriptural passage; points 
for classroom discussion and then various suggestions such as 
the following (varying with the individual lesson) : suggestions 
for a pageant, questions for thoughtful boys and girls, points 
for discussion, etc. ; in other words, no fast and set arrangement 
for every lesson but "learning by doing" in a way calculated 
to emphasize the matter that has been treated in the lesson. 

In the most recent scries of texts, Our Holy Faith (8 vols., 
Bruce Co.), we have a definite schema for the conclusions of 
its various lessons. For example, in the volume intended for 
grade three, we find a short prayer at the end of each lesson. 
This prayer offers a summary or resume of it, adapted to the 
child's mentality. Then there follow: Things To Be Remembered 
(in which the chief points of the lesson are repeated, key words 
emphasized, and the knowledge-content stressed) and Tilings 
To Be Done (here are listed the values to be gained, applications 
to be made, rules for conduct to be emphasized, etc.). At the 
end of each unit is appended a study of such problems as are 
vital for a child or important for his moral life. 

An important advance was made by putting a story or a 
description at the beginning of the lesson, instead of a theoretical 
presentation which developed theoretical ideas in logical 
fashion. The authors of the new German catechism, who at 
first tried another theory, finally adopted this solution. 44 

43 These may be obtained from the Confraternity Publications, 
Paterson, N.J. ; they are graded for class groupings under three headings : 
primary, intermediate, and upper (VI-VII-VIII). 

44 Cf. the preliminary trial texts which were distributed for criticism 
to experts in the field. 



This meant of course that they had to dispense with the uniform 
presentation of the subject, progressing from one thought to 
another, from one lesson to the next. The lessons therefore form 
a consecutive but independent pattern, like pieces of a mosaic, 
which when put together result in a clear picture. But what is 
lost in such a procedure is richly compensated for by the advan- 
tages which accrue. The lesson has a point of departure which is 
capable of impressing and capturing the child's imagination such 
as the proper catechesis requires. 45 This is actually the objective at 
which catechesis aims, and the teaching that is presented has more 
of a chance not only of being understood, but also of being retained. 
The work of the ordinary lay catechists and especially of parents, 
is essentially lightened. Indeed, the cooperation of the latter 
only thus becomes possible; for only few are capable of putting 
into different words something that is first taught in abstract 
terms. Anyone, however, can tell a story. Of course, the 
example chosen should not only be related to the instructive 
matter of the lesson but should contain at least its central theme 
which is not always true of the French Catechism, even in its 
revised version of 1947. 

In general it is fitting that the example be drawn from scrip- 
ture. The words of the Bible, as coming from God, are weightier 
than mere human words. But the nature of the subject-matter in 
the catechism, unlike that of the school Bible, will often necessi- 
tate that only a resume, a synthesis of scripture be given, and 
not the full biblical version (for example, in the sections on 
Christology: Christ's testimony of himself, the miraculous 
cures) ; but the demand that a biblical example should be used 
cannot obviously, be a hard and fast rule. In treating the sacra- 

45 Without doubt a certain restraint is placed on the catechist. But 
whereas the book sketches a happening only in bold strokes, it is left 
to the catechist to develop and to make it vivid. Furthermore, he is 
free to choose another example, should he so desire. 



ments, the external rites which of themselves are essentially 
symbolic, will offer the most natural means of illustration. In 
teaching the moral code the example of some saint canonized 
by the Church will have enough dignity to illustrate the 
Christian ideal in the catechism. 

Of great importance is the final section of the "lesson unit" 
which deals with the practical application for life. In this the 
German Catechism contributes greatly to the religious education 
of the children. In connection with the model of the French 
catechism of 1938, with its hard and fast scheme — in the catechism 
of 1947 only the order is changed — we may ask whether all 
parts of the scheme need to be incorporated into every lesson. 
In a lesson devoted to the seventh commandment, we can 
surely dispense with a reference to the liturgy. Exercises and 
applied tasks can sometimes be merged into one without harm. 
A number of hints appropriate to the subject matter of each 
lesson would be preferable. 

The repeated application to life which is contained in the 
conclusion of each lesson and especially the narrative at the 
beginning furnish us with a rich source of inspiration for the 
illustration of the catechism. In German-speaking countries the 
Austrian Catechism of 1930 was the first to make moderate use 
of pictures. Again, in Canisius, especially in his smaller cate- 
chisms, pictures were never entirely lacking. 46 Today the cate- 
chism cannot dispense with pictures for the simple reason that 
it would otherwise become inferior to the textbooks which are 

46 Consult the edition of the Canisius catechisms of Strcicher, (see 
above p. 21), especially the survey of the pictures Vol. I, pp. 74 f. In 
the same volume, Vol. I, pp. 273-298, the reproduction of the catechism 
printed at Antwerp in 1598 which on every page presents the reader 
with a picture and a few lines of text in explanation. From a pedagogical 
standpoint the illustration of these ancient catechisms is not always 
exemplary, especially if, when treating of the commandments, sins are 
graphically depicted, and the children are warned not to commit them. 



used in the secular branches. Furthermore, intrinsic reasons both 
of a pedagogical and didactic nature demand the use of pictures 
in. the elementary religious text books, and all the more so when 
the educational aspect must be stressed. It is difficult to under- 
stand why pictures should decorate the pages of Bible History, 
and not those of the catechism. On this point, however, we 
must make a distinction. In the catechism, even in those instances 
in which it treats of events related in the Bible, we are concerned 
not simply with recalling the historical scene but rather with 
stressing its supernatural character, or its meaning for the divine 
plan of redemption. A symbolical treatment in the design of 
catechism pictures can therefore be used to advantage. 47 

From what we have said it follows that the answers to be 
memorized form the backbone also in the "lesson unit" 
catechisms. They should, however, be as short and concise as 
possible. Insofar as it is compatible with clarity, the language 
of the Bible should be used in preference to the language of 
theology. Definitions should not as a rule be phrased in the form 
of a "What is" question, but should be worded in such a way 
that they represent a statement concerning an effect or a cause, 
that is to say, by a "What happened" question. Care should be 
taken to ensure that they flow rhythmically. 48 

By their nature the parts that are to be memorized are least 
subject to modifications. They form the most stable part of the 
catechism. Only improvements which arc manifestly required 
justify the departure from traditional formulations. On the 
other hand, whatever precedes or follows in the text, the parts 
to be memorized can be changed more readily, precisely because 

47 In this respect the pictures in the catechism of Burkart furnish us 
with a solution. 

48 This point did not escape the attention of Marie Fargues. See 
"Catechism Recitatives " in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 5 (1950), pp. 605-609; E. 
Dubois, Catechism in Verse (St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1952). 



they are drawn from life and must be applied to life in all its 
fullness. This implies that it is quite possible to have separate 
books for the parts to be memorized and for the other material 
without foregoing the advantages of the "lesson unit" cate- 
chism; these can be preserved to a great extent through recourse 
to equivalent forms. Countries which still adhere to question 
and answer catechisms have already created such forms. In the 
United States the Baltimore catechism, which in 1895 was 
adopted by a majority of dioceses, was revised and republished 
with only a few improvements and additions in content in 1941. 
This catechism consisted exclusively of question and answer in 
graded editions, adapted to the upper and lower levels of the 
elementary school. At the end of each edition is contained the 
following note: "These catechisms are doctrinal summaries of 
religion and a basis for pedagogic textbooks, which will be 
prepared as courses of religion by capable and experienced 
theologians or catechetical teachers." 49 Actually such textbooks 
have appeared (for example, McGuire-Horan) ; they were 
designed for the pupils. In them the matter required for the 
various grades is culled from the catechism and supplemented 
by a variety of additions, which enable the pupil to understand 
both the words and the content of the text, and ensure its reten- 
tion by the memory through a variety of prescribed tasks. Bible 
stories and prayer formulas are employed as well as pictures. 50 

49 The difficulties which are raised on this point have been anticipated 
and answered by Raab, III— 26. — In addition to a stable catechism Raab 
demands a "work book" or a children's newspaper. 

50 F. M. Willam, Der Lehrstuck-Katechismus, pp. 69-98 takes passages 
from the textbooks of McGuire (1941) and of Horan (1945); he claims 
that they are Lehrstuck-Katechismen. — Holland has also embarked on 
this course. For the new question and answer catechism of 1948, portions 
are selected for the various classes. These extracts are then provided 
with explanations and with pictures if possible. Lumen Vitae, Vol. 4 
(1949), p. 351. 



Hence we can say that nothing stands in the way of developing 
these textbooks into "lesson unit" catechisms, understood in 
our sense of the word, even though in them attention is directed 
primarily to learning. But in that case they do not possess any 
official character as do the catechisms upon which they draw. 

England also has held fast to its traditional question and answer 
catechism. But since (in its public, independent and state-sub- 
sidized Catholic schools) a religion period is provided for 
daily, and since great diligence is being shown in developing 
better methods for the catechists, and in a better training of 
them personally, it is possible to use almost every means to 
enliven the subject matter, and to permit a "lesson unit" 
catechism to be arranged by the children themselves. Whatever 
the catechist imparts in the way o£ clarifying, summarizing and 
of evaluating the instructional matter is written concisely on the 
blackboard. This is then entered by the children into their note- 
books and is there enriched by their personal contributions vary- 
ing according to their ability. In this notebook the matter 
entered is illustrated by drawings and by pictures which are 
pasted in at the appropriate places. In this respect the children's 
environmental heritage furnishes important data. 51 In England 
this takes the place of the "lesson unit" catechism. 

A newspaper for children has also been suggested as possible 
for the performance of these functions. 52 This must, however, 
conform to the official syllabus and should, perhaps, in correla- 
tion with the chief divisions of the catechism, be graded for a 
three-year span. This would offer to the children everything 
that is calculated to enliven the content of the catechism and to 

51 F. H. Drinkwater, "Home-Made Catechisms" Lumen Vitae, Vol. 5 
(1950), pp. 419-425. 

52 Raab, pp. 212-215. The U.S.A. has two newspapers of this kind 
at the present : The Catholic Messenger (Little, Young and Junior) (Dayton : 
Geo. A. Pflaum); Mine (Minneapolis, Minn.: Publications for Catholic 
Youth) (also in a similar three-fold division). 



elevate the sentiments of the child to God: stories and descrip- 
tions, poetry and prose, pictures and symbols, prize essays and 
contests. Basically this proposal was realized in the newspapers 
published for first communicants in Germany at the turn of the 
19 th century. These, meant for children of the twelve to thirteen 
age group, enjoyed great popularity. Today they seem doomed 
because of early First Communion. 53 

In conclusion, we must ask whether a "lesson unit" catechism 
is superfluous. To this we may reply that such a catechism is not 
the only possible solution, but it is the best way of attaining 
the objective we have been discussing and have outlined. 
Without it, the less imaginative catechists would soon revert to 
a mere explanation of the texts to be memorized. As far as 
replacements for it are concerned, experience has shown that 
they have never been able to be used by all the children, nor 
in all the schools. On the other hand, place can always be found 
alongside the "lesson unit" catechism for the work-book and 
for newspapers. Finally, the book should not only serve to help 
the children to rediscover by means of repetition at home the 
skeleton of the catechesis; it should also bring to life the spiritual 
values and driving; force which were contained in it. 54 

x & 

Questions of Internal Form 

More important than the questions dealing with the external 
form of the catechism are those which are focused on its 
internal structure, on the choice and the arrangement of Chris- 

53 J. Solzbacher, " Zcitschriften fur Erstkomniunikanten ? " in KBl, Vol. 
76 (1951), pp. 489-492. — The religious newspapers for children which 
appear in connection with a definite weekly or diocesan paper, e. g., 
Our Sunday Visitor, and do not have any close ties with any definite 
catechism, may be pressed into service. 

54 In this sense read the final judgement of G. Delcuve and P. Ranwez 
on the new attempts to write a new catechism. Lumen Vitae, Vol. 5 
(1950) "The Catechism Textbook - Conclusions", pp. 619-632. 



tian doctrine, by which it can best fulfill its task of transmitting 
the "good news" of faith. The transformation of the traditional 
catechism into a " lesson unit" catechism leaves untouched the 
sequence and the wording of the matter to be learned by heart. 
We have actually become acquainted with "lesson unit" cate- 
chisms of a kind which simply modify the inherited question 
and answer form in consonance with norms both formal and 
methodological, and in this way succeed in vitalizing them 

Increased knowledge and fuller experience, however, have 
awakened us to the realization that this reform in formal 
methodology hardly completes half the task. We must re- 
examine fundamentals and attempt a matcrial-kerygmatic 
reformation. 55 In doing so we should not think it strange that 
only after a catechetical history embracing more than four 
centuries, our own age is the first to become fully aware of the 
need for this task. As long as the child was surrounded by a 
Christian atmosphere, not only in the family but also in the 

55 The terminology: a "formal methodological" reform and "ma- 
terial-kerygmatic " is taken from F. X. Arnold who in his two works: 
Dienst am Glauben (1948) and Grundsdtzliches und Geschichtliches zur 
Theologie dcr Seehorge (1949) highlights the importance of the reform 
in question from the viewpoint both of history and of theology. Com- 
pare this also to: Th. Kampmann, Die Gegenwartsge stall der Kirche und 
die christliche Erzichung (Paderborn, 1951). In the same sense F. Weber 
concludes his Geschichte des Katechismus in der Diozese Rottenburg (1939) 
by calling attention to this task: "The catechism which we are looking 
for is a book which, within a framework that is essentially Christian, 
presents the mysteries of faith and the economy of redemption in its 
entirety, as the essential laws of the Christian 'message' demand." — The 
"Conclusions" which we have just mentioned in the above footnote 
(the number of the Lumen Vitae was devoted solely to the catechism) 
draws our attention to the danger which confronts us in a catechism 
which is based exclusively on the psychology of the child and his needs: 
it would be a catechism in which not only the doctrine of the sacraments 
but also dogma itself would be subordinated to moral (p. 626). 



community, and received a Christian formation through his 
environment, it was sufficient for catechism and catechesis, no 
matter how indifferently employed, to communicate to the 
child the necessary knowledge. The lack of the educative factor 
was not noticeable. Since the auxiliary educative forces of former 
ages have disappeared, the defects of the old catechism became 
increasingly evident. 56 To these defects we must turn our 

The traditional catechism both in its choice of subject matter 
and in its construction was dominated by two factors, which 
were without any supernatural importance. The first was the 
medieval enthusiasm for enumerations and for formulas divided 
into numbered parts. Catechisms consequently betrayed a 
marked preference for divisions. In addition to the Apostles' 
Creed, which was made difficult to understand because earlier 
it had been divided into twelve articles, the pupils were com- 
pelled to learn up to twenty other formulas of which the 
majority belonged to the moral order, and in this way the 
emphasis was placed on morality rather than dogma. 57 The 
other determining factor was the continuous defensive against, 
and complete preoccupation with, heresy, which was under- 
standable in the sixteenth century, but which has actually been 
retained in catechisms down to the present. The points of 

56 F. M. Willam, Katechetische Emeuerung, p. 83. 

57 Cf. above p. 12. In the Christianae doctrinae latior explicatio of 
Bellarmine (among others, 1711) the construction of the catechism is 
determined to a great extent by the catechetical formulas. Besides the 
Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary there appear as independent 
chapters: decalogue, commandments of the Church, evangelical 
counsels, sacraments, the theological virtues, the cardinal virtues, the 
gifts of the Holy Ghost, the eight beatitudes, the seven corporal and the 
seven spiritual works of mercy, the seven capital sins, the six sins against 
the Holy Ghost, the four sins that cry to heaven for vengeance, the 
four last things. — On the other hand the Catechismus Romanus of set 
purpose broke away from the servitude to these formulas. 



doctrine which were assailed by the heretics were not only 
explained and defended, but they were accorded a prominent 
place in the book: faith as assent to truth, 58 the hierarchical 
concept of the Church, 59 the Real Presence of Christ in the 
Eucharist, 60 the meritoriousness of good works, etc. In general, 
the truths of faith were considered preponderantly from the 
viewpoint of human action and of duty. Edmund Auger is the 
forerunner of that arrangement of the catechism which by way 
of Deharbe has predominated in a majority of more modern 
catechisms. He begins with a question on the goal of man and 
develops from its answer the captions which serve as divisions 
of the book itself. In order to reach our goal, we must: 1. believe 
what God has revealed; 2. keep the commandments; 3. make 
use of the means of grace. 61 In such an arrangement Chris- 
tianity appears to be nothing more than a number of obli- 
gations by which we are bound, whereas in reality it is charac- 
terized in Scripture itself as "good news of great joy". Chris- 
tianity appears to consist of a series of actions, which we are 
called upon to perform, whereas in reality it is a great work 
of God's grace. Everything that is presented in this catechism 

58 F. X. Arnold, Dienst am Glauben, pp. 26 £ and passim. 

59 M. Ramsauer, "Die Kirche in den Katecliismen " in ZkTh, Vol. 73 
(1951), pp. 129-169; 313-346; E. A. Ryan, "Three Early Treatises on 
the Church" in Theological Studies, Vol. 5 (1944), pp. 113-141. 

60 F. X. Arnold, Vorgeschichte and Eitifluss des Tricnter Messopfer- 
dekretes auf die Behandlung des eucharistischen Geheimnisses in der Glaubens- 
verkiindigung der Neuzeit : Die Messe in der Glaubensverkundigung (Freiburg : 
Herder, 1950), pp. 114-161. 

61 Cf. J. Hofmger, "Die rechte Gliederung des katechetischen Lehr- 
storfes" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 2 (1947), pp. 719-746, especially p. 720. This 
article is a synopsis of a still greater study made by the author: De apta 
divisione materiae catecheticae, Collectanea Commissionis Synodalis, Vol. 13 
(Peking, 1940), pp. 583-599; 729-749; 845-859; Vol. 14 (Peking, 1941), 
pp. 1-16; J. Hofinger, "Should the Customary Arrangement of the 
Catechism be Changed? "in Catholic School Journal, Vol. 55 (Jan., 1955), 
pp. 3-5. 



is correct, but it only glances at man's needs, his searching and 
his endeavours; it is a subjective and narrow aspect of divine 
reality. By such an arrangement the pupil can never attain to 
a full and unbroken vista of the magnificent plan of man's 
redemption. 62 Because the true adversary of the Catholic 
Christian is today no longer any specific heresy but complete 
unbelief, it is important that upon the soul of the child be imprinted 
a clear and striking insight into the faith as a whole. To achieve 
this it will be found worthwhile to give an overall survey in the 
very beginning of the book, especially if it can be broached in 
fitting imagery and not in abstract statement. For this purpose 
the parables of the kingdom of God are especially suitable and 
in particular the comprehensive parable of the great banquet. 
The invitation of the heavenly Father extended, through his 
only-begotten Son and his ambassadors, to the whole of man- 
kind which must decide whether it will foolishly seek excuses 
to absent itself or gratefully accept. 63 

More important than this introduction is the view of the 

62 W. Picliler (Katechi sinus der katholischcn Religion, edition for cate- 
chists [Vienna, 1928], pp. XXI-XXII) does not advance beyond this 
position, since he uses as its basic thought the phrase: " Serve God". — The 
Austrian course of study, sad to say, adopted the recommendation of 
Pichler, because it uses for the graduating class the synopsis of the chief 
articles of faith under the headings : Profession of Faith (Why I should 
serve God), the Commandments (How God wishes us to serve Him), 
Sacraments and Prayer (Means of serving God). 

63 It is a justifiable demand that the "kingdom of God" and the 
"kingdom of Heaven" be employed in the full biblical sense in catechesis 
and hence also at the beginning of the catechism : as the manifestation 
of the sovereignty of Christ, as the state of perfection of the people of 
God at the end of the world. But we can and we ought to attach to this 
purely temporal view — or more exactly to this eschatological and 
universal view — and to use, as far as circumstances permit, the usual 
spatial representations of "heaven" as "the dwelling place of God" 
and as "the place of sentence which awaits all men" (Men can 
find this "door closed", Mt. 25, 11 sq.); in the parable of the Great 



whole. If, as wc have just attempted to make clear, we should 
not start with the subjective accomplishments which are 
demanded of us to obtain eternal salvation, it is equally incorrect 
to begin with the notion of faith and with the sources of reve- 
lation, no matter how well such themes seem to fit in with the 
logical order of the theological system. Figuratively speaking, 
we should not first of all draw the children's attention to the 
telescope with which they can search the heavens but to the 
magnificent world of God into which they are permitted to 
look with the eyes of faith. 64 What should be offered to the 
children in the catechism as a synopsis of Christian doctrine is, no 
the one hand, a presentation of all that God has done and is still 
doing for us, and on the other, a presentation of the reply which 
we should give to God by conforming our conduct to the Chris- 
tian ideal. 65 That the Christian moral code, even in the catechism,, 
should form a separate subject of instruction and as such should be 
separated from dogma has always been acknowledged; what is 

Banquet both these views converge. Cf R. Schnackenburg, "Zum 
Reich-Gottcs-Begrirf in der Katechese" in KBl, Vol. 72 (1947), pp. 33-39 ; 
F. J. Schierse, "Hinimelsehnsucht und Reich-Gottes-Erwartung " in Geist 
undLehcn, Vol. 26 (1953), pp. 189-210; Th. Filthaut. op. cit. (cf. p. 30 
above) ; the more restrictive viewpoints are emphasized by H. Mayer, KBl } 
Vol. 72 (1947), pp. 322-323. R. A. Dyson and A. Jones, The Kingdom of 
Promise (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1947), pp. 174-180. St. 
Matthew's Gospel is sometimes called the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. 

64 The teaching on faith, on its importance and its conditions, are 
integrated in an organic fashion into the doctrine of the Church : we 
become members of the Church by our faith and by the reception of 
Baptism. — The Catechism of Gasparri does not speak at all about 
the sources of faith in his catechism for children; only in the catechism 
for adults is a chapter dedicated to * 'Divine Revelation" (QQ 12-29); in 
H. Pope (trans.), The Catholic Catechism (New York: P. J. Kenedy, 
1932), pp. 12-29; 66-69. 

65 Cf. Hofinger, "Our Message" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 5 (1950), pp. 
277-294. These ideas are fully developed in the same author's The Art 
of Tcauiing Christian Doctrine (University of Notre Dame Press, 1957). 


much more difficult is the division which must be made in both 
types of subject matter, especially in the doctrines of faith. 

An arrangement which would be useful in catechesis can mani- 
festly not be made simply by joining together doctrinal points in 
a purely arbitrary fashion; nor does a purely logical arrangement 
appear to be sufficient. A strictly scientific system also no longer 
suffices. The arrangement should rather afford a view of the whole, 
should be easily understandable, but at the same time it should 
be inspired by the nature of the subject matter itself. 66 These 
conditions would be fulfilled, and the chief chapters of belief 
would be joined together in an easily comprehended sequence, 
if the redemption of the world by Christ and ultimately the 
Person of Christ Himself were to become the focal point 
upon which everything converges. 67 

The Apostles, and especially St. Paul, presented the Christian 
message in just this way. St. Paul designated as the object of 
his "good news" "the mystery of Christ", or "the gospel of 
Christ" (2 Cor. 2, 12; 9, 13; 10, 14), and on all sides he makes 
all his lines of thought converge on this focal point. From all 
eternity the economy of redemption was based on the advent 
of Christ; in Him God wished "to re-establish all things" both 
those in heaven and those on earth (Eph. 1, 10). With Him 
the new creation begins: the life and activity of the Church, 
the sacraments, forgiveness of sins, the life of grace, final trans- 
figuration are nothing more than effects of His redemptive act. 

66 J. Hofmger, " In what order should religious truths be presented ? " in 
Lumen Vitae, Vol. 2 (1947), pp. 726f. 

67 Ibid. , pp. 738 ff. — J. A. Jungmann, Christus als Mittelpunkt religioser 
Erziehung (Freiburg: Herder, 1939); ibid., "Die Stellung Christi in 
Katechese und Predigt "in ChPBl, Vol. 66 (1953), pp. 65-71 ; A. O'Connor, 
" Christocentrism, The Core of Integration" in Catholic Educational 
Review, Vol. 49 (1951), pp. 390-395; W. H. Russell, "Possibilities in 
Christo-centrism for Mental Health" in The Catholic Educational 
Review, Vol. 45 (1947), pp. 209-218; 279-287. 



As a result of the careful ordering of these associated parts the 
good news character of the dogmatic structure will be made 
apparent. Through unswerving concentration on what is 
taught the chances are that the children will remember at least 
the basic facts of the Christian faith, even under the most 
unfavourable circumstances. Through the awe-inspiring Person 
of our Lord, who can be discerned behind each single doctrine, 
the act of faith will be made easier even when it encounters 
special obstacles; for every obscurity is ultimately only that 
mystery which surrounds His Person. On the other hand it is 
precisely the Person of our Saviour who not only towers above 
history but, in a very tangible way, dominates also the present, 
serving as a foundation for faith. Christian doctrine is not a 
human invention, but His own word. By stressing His personal 
character, by making clear that in Him we are dealing ultimately 
not with something but with someone, we meet the need 
of youth to follow someone. Such a need can be satisfied 
only by that one Person who is most worthy of youthful enthu- 

In doing this we should not stress Chris t-centredn ess un- 
naturally. It would not only be absurd to deduce the entire 
content of moral teaching down to its subtlest ramification 
from the example and teaching of Christ; but also in Christian 
doctrine it would be impossible to evolve what is taught about 
God simply from Christology. It should rather precede it, 68 
just as the preaching of Christ and the Apostles began with 
a reference to the eternal decree of God the Father. The 
various ways of arriving at a natural knowledge of God must 
be sketched and made understandable, even though the notion 

e8 This holds true of a catechism for children. Eugen Fischer in his 
Christenlehre (Colmar, 1944), which is designed for adults, presents the 
whole of the dogmatic doctrine under the title "Listen to Jesus", and 
then follows it with his doctrine on the sacraments. 



of God that is acquired by such a train of thought can only 
germinate from the words of our Lord Himself. 

Christ-centredness will, however, have to be expressed 
throughout the entire content of revealed doctrine. To do this 
we must, at the very beginning, draw a striking picture of the 
Person of our Lord. It is not enough if in the catechism we speak 
only of two natures, of the facts of His birth in Bethlehem, His 
passion, death, burial, and resurrection, and then finally of the 
infinite merit of Llis death on the Cross. The historical course of 
Christ's life is delineated more vividly in Bible History. Through 
the catechism we must make the children conscious of the re- 
demptive value of the Person and work of our Saviour. This can 
be accomplished to a certain extent by an explanation of the 
Names "Jesus", "Christ", "our Lord". 69 The traditional 
symbols for his Person may also be employed here with profit. 
It is permissible for the purposes of recapitulation to refer to 
the most important figures of the Old Testament as has been 
done in several catechisms. Comparison with the first Adam 
permits Christ to appear as the new Adam, as the founder of 
the new Chosen People of God. Furthermore, in this connection 
we can sketch summarily and in rough outlines the public life 
of Jesus, and at the same time illustrate briefly His teaching, 
His human nature, His passion and death, in the sacrifice of 
redemption, by which He exercises His priestly office. His 
resurrection must not be treated from the apologetic point of 
view only and as a guarantee of our own bodily resurrection, 
but rather as the crowning work of His redemption. In it we 
are shown the glory which He acquired for us and which is 

69 This expression which is both Pauline and biblical is used all too 
little in German, whereas in other modern languages it is employed 
frequently, e. g., "Our Lord", "Notre Seigneur", "Nostro Signore". 
This title expresses the dignity of xvpioq as well as the fact that we 
belong to him. 



implicit in that grace which embraces us all. 70 His transfiguration 
in the resurrection and the ascension will then also be the reve- 
lation of His royal nature. 

Christ-centredness will need to be especially remembered 
in those chapters which deal with the Christian means of salva- 
tion: Church, grace and sacraments. For a true concept of 
the Church it is important that we present it as a community 
of those who belong to and share in the life of Christ, 71 before we 
explain its organizational and hierarchical character. If we should 
content ourselves with saying that Christ founded the Church, 
we would by that statement reduce the Church to simple 
earthly dimensions. 72 To understand the Church properly it 
is important to place Christ in the consciousness of the 
faithful as He who continues to live on in transfigured human- 

70 A layman expresses the importance of this theme in a striking 
fashion: "We must awaken in Christians, in fact in all men, the under- 
standing that the transfiguration of the Redeemer is the symbol and the 
proclamation of the transfiguration of both man and nature." G. Papini, 
The Letters of Pope Celestine VI to All Mankind (New York; E. P. 
Dutton, 1948), p. 97. — The dominant position of the message of re- 
surrection in the preaching of primitive Christianity is underlined by 
H. Schiirmann, Aufbau and Struktur der neutestamentlichen Verkiindigung 
(Paderborn: F. Schoningh, 1949). — That the resurrection of Christ 
must be considered to be at least the causa exemplaris of our justifica- 
tion is clear from a number of passages from the Epistles of St. Paul; 
it may also be looked upon as an efficient-cause relationship. L. Lercher, 
Instit ui tones the oh dogm., Vol. Ill (3rd ed.; Innsbruck: Rauch, 1942), pp. 
21 5 if. As a consequence quite logically he treats of the momentum keryg- 
maticum of the Paschal miracle in connection with it (pp. 218 f). 

71 Ramsauer, op. cit., pp. 340ff. ; cf. also the special number oi Lumen 
Vitae, Vol. 8 (1953), "The Sense of the Church" and especially those 
articles which purpose "To develop the Sense of the Church at the 
Different Stages of Life." pp. 398-486. 

72 Cf. the fate of the notion of the Church in the era of enlightenment; 
Ramsauer, op. cit., pp. 316ff; G. Weigel, "The Body of Christ and the 
City of God" in Social Order, Vol. 5 (1955), pp. 271-275; R. Hasseveldt, 
The Church, A Divine Mystery (Chicago: Fides, 1954). 



ity ; in this way, He appears as the Head of the Church and we 
are His Mystical Body, notions which today may be inserted 
into the catechism. 

The ecclesiastical functions can be made much more under- 
standable and be put in a more correct light, if they are described 
as continuations of the functions of Christ: in the teaching 
office of the Church, His teaching office lives on; in priestly 
activity, His own priesthood ; in government, His own oinni- 
potence. 73 Thus it will easily become evident that the fulness 
of divine power continues to be exercised by and in the Church. 

In most catechisms of the past century the teaching on grace 
and the sacraments has always been treated in an independent 
section separated from the doctrine on faith by another section 
devoted to the commandments. This placing, coming as it does 
after the moral code, might create the impression that both grace 
and the sacraments were considered merely as helps to enable men 
to lead moral lives. This impression was further deepened by the 
fact that their presentation was prefaced by a lesson on actual 
grace. In this way the supernaturalness of the life of grace be- 
came obscured in the Christian consciousness; and this ob- 
scurity is in no sense changed by including the word "super- 
natural" in the definition of grace. 

This can be remedied, however, by reverting to an earlier 
method: grace and the sacraments belong to that subject matter 
which centres on the creed. In them the work of redemption 
becomes fruitful for us. In Baptism the spark of divine life leaps 
from Christ to us. The Holy Ghost who indwells in Him, takes 
up His abode in us and sanctifies us. 74 We become (adopted) 
children of God alongside Him, who is the first-born. 

73 Cf. the presentation in the new German catechism and in addition 
that of F. Schreibmayr, " Organischer Auf bau im Katechismus " in KBl, 
Vol. 72 (1947), p. 261. 

74 Just as we speak of the sanctifying action of Christ and of the Holy 



All these insights into the Christological structure of grace 
and of the sacraments will be guaranteed us naturally if the 
doctrine of grace and the sacraments follows upon that section 
which expounds the dogmatic teaching in accordance with 
the order of the Creed, as is done in the Tridentine catechism. 
This goal, however, would be attained much more readily, 
if the doctrine of grace and the sacraments in general should 
be treated within the framework of the Creed, as St. Thomas 
does it. The Angelic Doctor deals with the seven sacraments in 
connection with the article of faith: sanctorum communionem. 15 
But such a sequence is not absolutely necessary; without it we 
can still indicate their relation to Christ. In any case, it is not 
sufficient when treating of the sacraments simply to attribute 
their institution to Christ. The theological proposition, that 
in the sacraments Christ acts through a human instrument, 
should not be neglected in the catechism; nor should the other 
thought be omitted, namely, that in the sacraments, especially 
Baptism, we are made to share in the sufferings and in the 
resurrection of Christ. 76 

To God's condescension in the work of redemption and of 
salvation, we, the redeemed, must give an apt answer in prayer 
and in a Christian conduct of life. Here, where we are no longer 

Spirit, we might ask ourselves the question : how can these two notions 
be brought into accord in catechesis so that they can be understood by the 
children? On this subject, consult Kl. Tilmann, "Was ist ' organischer 
Aufbau' im Religions-Unterricht? " in KBl, Vol. 66 (1940), p. 4, where he 
suggests that we use the comparsion between a person and his hand: of 
both we are able to say the same thing : I grasp, or die hand grasps this 
book; M. J. Scheeben (C. Vollert, trans.), Nature and Grace (St. Louis: 
Herder, 1954), pp. 201-203. 

75 Opusc. de expositione Symboli (see above p. 15, footnote no. 37). 

76 R. Graber, Christus in seinen heiligen Sakramenten (Miinchen, 1937), 
p. 15: "The accusation of magic could never have been made against the 
sacraments, if hi their exposition emphasis had been placed on their 
personal, living connection with Christ's death and resurrection." 



concerned with gaining knowledge of the meaning of the works 
of God, where we arc no longer preoccupied with obtaining 
a clarified picture of the world of faith, but with our actions, 
with our practical conduct, a definite order of topics is no longer 
of the same importance as it was before. 77 But here again we 
should not let order be a matter of indifference. Our first answer 
to God is prayer. Only when prayer is looked upon as an 
answer to God's call of grace does the meaning of the prayer of 
thanksgiving and of praise become apparent. 78 And the com- 
mon prayer of the redeemed, the liturgy of the Church, must 
assume a place of primary importance. There arc catechisms 
which devote a special chapter to the liturgy. 79 In any case it 
is not especially of advantage, if, as has been the case in the 
catechism tradition of Austria, prayer is appended, in the second 
section entitled "Of hope and prayer", to the virtue of hope. 
This means that only prayers of petition can be considered. 
We must say almost the same thing about the German cate- 
chisms since Deharbe, in which prayer is presented with the 
sacraments as a means of grace only. The classical model of all 
prayer, the Lord's Prayer, gives in a different order the things 
for which we are to pray. 

The moral teaching of many catechisms has often been the 
target of criticism, namely that it has remained at the level of 
the Old Testament. 80 It goes without saying that this is due to 

77 Cf. Hofingcr, "In What Order Should Religious Truths Be Pre- 
sented?" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 2 (1947), pp. 721 f. 

78 Cf. Hofinger, in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 2 (1947), p. 738. 

79 Among others in France, the catechism of Bossuet. Concerning 
the German catechisms which devote a special chapter to the liturgy (to 
ceremonies and the liturgical year), cf. Hofinger, Geschichte des Katechis- 
mus in Osterreich, pp. 176 f. — Sailer wanted a catechism constructed on 
the basis of dogma, morals and liturgy. 

80 Consult especially the study of H. Woroniecki, "La place des 
preceptes de charite dans l'enseignement du catechisme " in Angclicum, Vol. 



joining the teaching of morality to the Decalogue. The ancient 
Church as well as that of the early Middle Ages did not use the 
Decalogue as a basis for their catechcses on morality. 81 In this 
respect the Tridentine catechism, too, betrayed a weakness: it 
restricted itself to an explanation of the Ten Commandments. 82 
Admittedly, St. Thomas had done the same thing, but at least 
he had placed the double commandment of charity at the 
beginning of the Ten Commandments. 83 Canisius followed 
him in this respect. One cannot condemn outright the fact that 
Christian moral teaching is joined to a formula of such authority 
as the Decalogue. It offers only too many advantages for 
catechesis, not the least of which is a hard and fast written 
scheme for the examination of consciences. Such a jointure 
should, however, be expounded and deepened by relating it 
to the New Testament, as our Lord Himself did in His Sermon 
on the Mount (Mt. 5, 21 ff.). 

25 (Rome, 1948), pp. 18-26; C.E.Elwell, "In Character Education What 
Habits Shall We Build? " in Catholic Educational Review, Vol 40 (1942), pp. 

81 In any case in the primitive Church besides the doctrine of the Two 
Ways, the Decalogue was also employed on occasion. R.M. Grant, "The 
Decalogue in Early Christianity" in Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 40 
(1947), pp. 1-17. F. X. Eggersdorfer, Der hi. Augustinus als Padagoge (Frei- 
burg: Herder, 1907), pp. 164-168, shows that although Augustine valued 
the Decalogue highly, he did not use it as the basis of his instructions on 
morals. — For the subsequent centuries consult F.J. Peters," Der Dekalogim 
katechetischen Unterricht" in KBl, Vol. 57 (1931), pp. 434-445; E. Kurz, 
"Pflichtenlehre undDekalog"in KBl, Vol. 72 (1947), pp. 193-197; F.Blak- 
ker, Joh. B. v. Hirscher und seine Katechismen (Uufersuchungen zur Theologie 
der Seelsorge, 6) (Freiburg: Herder, 1953), pp. 205-209. Only in the fif- 
teenth century did the decalogue become the basic outline for morality 
and die confessions of sins, see J. Greving, "Zum vorreformatorischen 
Beichtunterricht " in Festgabe A. Knopfler zur Vollendung des 60.Lebensjahres 
(Munich: J. J. Lentner'sche Buchhandlung, 1907), pp. 46-81. 

82 See Woroniecki, op. cit., pp. 1 8f. 

83 Opusculwn 35: "De duobus praeceptis charitatis et decern legis 
praeceptis" (Mandonnet IV, 413-455) (Shapcoate, pp. 1-27), 



Another complaint against a catechesis based on the Deca- 
logue springs from the negative formulation of moral stan- 
dards: "Thou shalt not." The expansion of such a formulation 
in many catechisms actually led to moral doctrine becoming a 
teaching on sin. The too intimate connection with moral 
theology, such as the confessor requires for the exercise of his 
office, has promoted this development. The negative formu- 
lation of the commandments need by no means confine moral 
teaching to negations. Thus it was not necessary for the German 
uniform catechism of 1925 to try to pass this difficulty by going 
to the opposite extreme of re-formulating the Decalogue in 
positive terms. 84 It is truly sublime to think that God bestowed 
upon us freedom and limited us in its use only by some distant 
boundary where a "Thou shalt not" warns us of transgression. In 
fact, in many domains He refrained entirely from revealing 
either command or prohibition; He simply gave us the light 
of reason by which we were to find our own way and were 
to deduce from the nature of things the order which we 
were to follow. In a simplified form the concept of an order 
based on creation as the foundation of morality can be eva- 
luated in the catechism: God is the Lord of the world, but 
He has placed man over it as its steward; man has all crea- 
tion at his disposal, but he must use it correctly, not abuse 
it. 85 Taught in this way, the moral order will be firmly enrooted 

84 By means of titles such as "Be subject to God", "Fulfill your 
vows", "Be truthful". — A morality based on the Christian virtues such 
as St. Thomas Aquinas presents differs greatly from this (cf. Suwma theol. 
II a, II ae). Today the writings of Josef Pieper are collected and appeared 
in abridgement in J. Pieper, "Uber das christliche Menschenbild" in 
Hochland, Vol. 33 (1936), pp. 97-111. In this regard: R. MacEachen, 
The Teaching of Religion (New York: Macmillan, 1921), pp. 79-90; E. 
Reichert, "Taking the 'No' out of the Commandments" in Catholic 
Educator, Vol. 20 (1949/50), pp. 164-165. 

85 Cf. Auf deni Wege zweinem neuen Katechismus , p. 65. This idea 



in the consciousness of the child and of the adolescent, because 
it becomes evident to them that the moral laws are not arbitrary 
commandments, which God has decreed because of his absolute 
omnipotence, as nominalism had asserted. Conversely, the 
notion of God, developed by this view, is full of warmth 
and acquires an appealing grandeur, because it makes clear that 
God demands only what is good and just. His holiness thus 
becomes a living concept. In addition, the children of God 
have an opportunity to find the answers for their questions: 
what is best? what belongs to the perfect service of God? There 
is room for an upsurge of love, for the asceticism which, in 
moral training, must undoubtedly supplement the negative 
moral law. 86 

has been incorporated very well into the catechism of F. M. Willam, 
Utiser Weg zu Gott (Innsbruck, 1951), especially pp. 395 f. 
86 Concerning the Situation in England see Appendix IV. 




1. Principles for a Teaching Plan 

If the task of catechetics is to be fulfilled correctly, the order in 
which the varied subjects of catechesis are to be taught to children 
during the time that is at the disposal of the teacher must not 
be left to caprice or chance. Under conditions prevailing in 
German-speaking countries, where regular catechesis is given 
within the framework of the denominational schools, the time 
allotted to children's catechesis coincides with the years of 
compulsory school attendance, hence, for a great number of 
children, with the eight years of the elementary school. 1 But the 
position within the frame-work of the school system varies. In 
practically all the German Lander the denominational state- 
schools allot up to four periods weekly to the religion teacher. 
In Austria the State school is an interdenominational school. 
This type of school, if it is not influenced by peculiarly local 
conditions, does not purpose to give anything more than a 
broad general moral and religious education. Religious instruc- 
tion is, therefore, limited to two periods a week. 2 

1 More precisely: in Austria there are four years of elementary school 
and four more years either of elementary school or "Hauptschule" (the 
latter with different teachers for different subjects); in Germany there 
are eight years of elementary school, of which the first four are of "the 
common foundation school" (Grundschule): I. L. Kandel, Comparative 
Education (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1933), pp. 140-142. 

2 On the other hand in the Catholic schools of other countries such as 
the U.S.A., Belgium, Holland, England, Ireland, time is allotted for cate- 
chesis daily, lasting at least a half -hour. 



The planning must take into consideration the degree of 
organization in the schools themselves. In the cities, because of 
the great number of children, it is usually possible to group the 
children in such a way that each class constitutes a definite grade. 
Educators speak of a school organized on these lines as a highly 
organized school. 3 On the other hand, in the country, the children 
of all eight grades must sometimes be crowded into one or two 
classes ; these are called less highly organized schools. We must, 
furthermore, distinguish between the upper and the lower classes 
or grades. As a rule, educators describe the first four years as 
belonging to the lower grades. An intermediate grade, which 
would generally comprise the fourth and fifth years, is no longer 
considered practicable, and in some countries it is no longer 
taken into consideration. 4 Under German conditions the com- 
pletion of the fourth grade regularly marks the time at which 
a majority of the pupils pass from a school of one type to a 
school of another type, such as High School or " Gymnasium " 
(Secondary Grammar Schools). Classes, which embrace more 
than one grade, are generally taken in the secular subjects in 
two separate groups. Catechetical training avoids as much as 
possible group instruction within a class. At the Catechetical 
Congress in Vienna there was general agreement that "If in 
one class several grades are mixed the rule to be followed is 
that the grades are to be instructed together on the same subject 
matter." 5 Only in a one-class school is the catechist forced, and 

3 W. C. Reavis et al., The Elementary School (Chicago : University Press, 
1931), pp. 5-14. 

4 Down to the law of 1926 governing the Hauptschulc in Austria, 
pupils were required to attend a municipal school consisting of three 
grades after they had completed five years in the elementary school, so 
that the fourth and the fifth classes may be looked upon as intermediate 

5 Bericht uber die Verhandlungen des Kongresses fur Katechetik II (Vienna, 
1913), p. 601. 



then by necessity, to make a distinction between upper and 
lower grades, hence to divide the children into groups within 
the class (apart from occasionally giving, for a short time, 
separate attention to the infants of the first grade). While he 
instructs one group, the catechist usually occupies the other 
with some "silent activity". 

The order in which the catechetical content is to be imparted 
to the children under various circumstances at any given time 
must also be specified in the teaching plan. By this name, 
teaching plan, we only want to emphasize the instructive 
element which should stand out prominently in the planning, 
but not to obscure the educative task inherent in catechesis. 
A teaching plan prescribed by competent authorities is neces- 
sary not only because of the number of children who change 
residence during their school life, but also because of the 
possible changes among the catechists. Moreover, the catechist 
is generally spared the time and trouble of doing his own 
planning. The task of preparing a teaching plan for catechesis 
was, even in the nineteenth century, considered to be the duty 
of episcopal authorities, as is natural in view of the task in- 
volved. 6 

Because of the numerous moves which a great many families 
are forced to undertake, it is desirable that a uniform teaching 
plan be prescribed not only for a single diocese but also on a 
national scale. 7 Sometimes such a teaching plan can be no 

6 For a broad survey of the basic problems as well as actual cir- 
cumstances conditioning the course of studies at the turn of the century, 
consult J. E. Pichler and W. Pichler, Lehrplanfur den katholischen Religions- 
unterricht an den Volks- und Burger schulen Osterreichs (Vienna, 1904). 

7 Here are some of the programmes, official and semi-official for: France, 
Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, England and the U.S.A.: "Programme 
progressif d'enseignement religieux" Documentation catechistique (Sep- 
tembre, 1948) : "Guide pour l'enseignement religieux et l'education chre- 
tienne des enfants catholiques dans les ecoles primaires d' Alsace" (Stras- 



more than a framework into which the subject matter is roughly 
divided. These general divisions must be elaborated by the 
local teaching authority. 

Teaching plans should not be absolutely immutable. They 
must be constantly adapted to circumstances, especially if a 
change is made in the school structure or in the choice of text- 
books. These plans must, furthermore, be used with under- 
standing as well as with discretion by the catechist. Precisely 
for these reasons it is necessary to throw some light on the 
principles which are employed in the construction of a teaching 
plan for catechesis. 7a In planning and in creating a teaching 
plan several approaches are possible. 

1. One method of preparing such a course considers the whole 

bourg, Direction diocesaine de V enseignement) \ "Programme d'etudes des 
ecoles primaires elementaires" (Montreal) — Programme et repartition 
de l'enseignement de la religion dans les ecoles primaires communales 
du diocese de Tournai (Tournai-Paris : Casterman, 1947). Le reglement 
pour l'enseignement religieux dans la Suisse romande (Dioceses of Lau- 
sanne, Geneva and Fribourg). "The Fulda 'Lehrplan'" in R. Bandas, 
Catechetical Methods (New York: J. F. Wagner, 1929), pp. 269-287; 
Scheme of Religious Instruction (a development of the The Sower Scheme), 
for the diocese of Birmingham (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 
n. d.). In the U.S.A. there is no general scheme or course of study; the 
individual school system in the individual diocese makes its own choice 
or personally formulates its own course. For certain difficulties which 
beset the educator in the States as well as some of the principles to be 
followed, cf. W. McManus " Curriculum Building " in Bulletin NCEA 
(Feb., 1949), pp. 17-28; and also Sr. Maristella, "Basic Principles Permeat- 
ing the Catholic Elementary Course of Study" in NCEA-Proceedings and 
Addresses, Vol. 47 (1950/51), pp. 419-426. A course of study which 
could be adapted generally for every diocese: E. A. Fitzpatrick, A Curri- 
culum in Religion (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1931). 

7a P. Hofer, "Die Technik des Religionslehrplanes fur die Volks- 
schule" in Referate des Kongr esses fur Katechetik (Vienna, 1912) pp. 29-53. 
In this study we can see the organization which existed at that time for 
the primary school in Austria (the fourth and fifth grades were considered 
to be intermediate). 



of Christian doctrine as forming a unity which must be taught 
in every grade and in every year, a unity which grows with 
the mental capacity of the children, just as the rings in the trunk 
of a tree. This is the principle of concentric cycles. Earlie 
catechetics tended to divide the subject matter on the basis 
of this principle: the catechism of Felbiger (1777) appeared 
in a small, a medium and a large edition. 8 The same was done 
for other catechisms of this and subsequent periods. In these 
catechisms their authors set off by means of asterisks, or bold 
face letters, those questions which could be left out when 
the catechism was used for the first time. Teachers in those 
days expected even the smallest children to learn some 
of the catechism. From grade to grade and year to year, the 
amount of matter they were required to master grew apace. 
Up to the catechism reform of 1925-30 the catechisms con- 
tinued to appear in two or three graded editions, as they still 
do in the United States. 

With an increased understanding both of child psychology 
and of the pedagogical task which is involved in catechetical 
teaching, the judgement on the concentric cycle has undergone 
a change. True, for the learning of a set number of necessary 
questions or for a minimum of knowledge to be learned by 
heart, the concentric principle was of value. But there was 
always the danger that the doctrine presented always in the same 
way, and always in the same setting, would degenerate into a 
mere knowledge of words and of phrases. Besides, the reappear- 
ance of matter that had been taught several times before would 
inevitably dull the interest of the children, and the educative 
effect of the catechesis itself would be noticeably impeded. In 
addition the catechist, who is constantly forced to repeat matter 
that has already been treated, has scarcely any time at his disposal 

8 For further details, consult Hofmger, pp. 113-128. 


to develop any one topic thoroughly or with it to appeal to 
the children's interest. 

Thus, the principle of concentricity has even fallen into disrepute 
in the secular subjects. It served purely as a symbol of the 
authoritarian school, in opposition to the active school, which 
aims at true education. Only in certain subjects, as, for example, 
those in which a skill is to be exercised (languages) or in which 
a system of theorems is to be progressively taught, can we find 
justification for its use. 9 Taken in a broader sense, however, 
and applied in accordance with the psychological development 
of the children and with the subject matter, but not with a 
definite formula or with a specified series of topics, the con- 
centric cycle is still of value both for the teaching of religion 
and for other subjects. 10 It permits us to take into account the 
actuality of what is being taught as well as the mental and 
spiritual make-up of each particular grade. 

2. The successive method takes an exactly opposite course: 
the entire subject matter is treated only once in the time allotted. 
The matter is so divided that new topics are being dealt with 
all the time. This method has the advantage that it can properly 
evaluate the structure of the subject matter by an objective pre- 
sentation and that it can hold the interest of the pupils. 

But we may well ask whether or not the knowledge which 
the catechist imparts in this way actually endures. It would 
appear that the educative work that has been done lacks a firm 
foundation. Some kind of repetition is necessary if what the child 
has learnt is not to disappear as quickly as it came. A sane solution 
would be to combine these two methods. The progressive 
division could serve as the basis. If we keep before our minds the 
three different kinds of catechetical teaching material: religious 

9 Eggcrsdorfer, pp. 109 ff.; J. K. Sharp, Aims and Methods in Teaching 
Religion (New York: Benziger Bros., 1929), pp. 66-68. 

10 Eggersdorfer, p. 111. 



practice, Bible History, and systematic doctrine, it is clear that 
simply by arranging the teaching plan in such a way that they 
succeed one another, we do not achieve an actual progression 
but do effect an immanent repetition of the matter that has 
already been taught. All three are different aspects of one and 
the same subject matter, presented under different forms and in 
different guises. The mysteries surrounding Christ's birth, for 
example, are treated not only in the liturgy but also in Bible 
History and in the catechism. The distribution, moreover, can 
be made in such a way that it takes into account the psycholo- 
gical make-up of the children, corresponding to their actual 
age; so that the progressive arrangement becomes psychologi- 
cally progressive. 

For the children in the first grade, for whom a textbook is 
out of the question, but for whom possibly a picture book 
might be desirable, there is a choice of material that could 
easily be grasped. This material would be drawn from the practi- 
cal sphere of Christian teaching, hence it would offer the 
children the beginnings of what we can call visual education or 
a religious interpretation of their environment. Much space 
will be given to the teaching of the natural revelation of God 
in creation. The subject matter of the catechism for these 
children will therefore be as follows: the creatures, which 
recall for us the goodness, wisdom and almighty power of the 
father in heaven; the fundamental forms of our conduct to- 
ward him; the first prayers; certain particulars of the external 
features of the Church and of divine worship along with 
liturgical feasts and certain incidents from the life and passion 
of Jesus. 11 

11 Pfliegler, Vol. II, pp. 99 f. — This viewpoint is taken into considera- 
tion in the Fulda Lehrplan (1925), pp. 11 f. and also in the Course of Study 
for the diocese of Paderborn (1946), pp. 9ff. For the Fulda Lehrplan , 
consult R. Bandas, op. cit., pp. 269-287. 



During the remaining years in the lower grades religious 
instruction should be given in the form of Bible History. The 
catechist should, therefore, treat of the history of redemption 
for the first time. Bible stories are always concrete in character 
and fit in well with the perceptive faculties of this age. It is 
especially from the narratives of earlier history and from the 
New Testament that the catechist will to a great extent be able 
to draw the fundamental truths of Christianity. From them he 
will be able to extract many of those truths which later on 
will be deepened and developed in the catechism. At this age 
level the religious booklet is the most fitting textbook. In the 
second and third year the subject matter can be dealt with best 
in two concentric cycles. The first time it can be treated in 
broad general outlines, as befits seven year olds, perhaps stressing 
those things that are important for the first reception of the 
sacraments ; the second time with the inclusion of other material 
which circumstances may dictate. If, as is the case in Austria, 
the school year begins in the autumn, it wil] be possible, while 
twice going through the story of salvation, to enter more 
deeply into the great feasts of the Church. 

A definite difficulty, which is peculiar only to European 
countries, will be encountered in the fourth year. Since, accord- 
ing to civil laws, some children must pass on to other types of 
schools at the beginning of the fifth year, it is not advisable to 
begin with instructions on the catechism at this point unless a 
provisional systematic presentation be made of what has 
already been taught. The question still remains whether a 
complementary course in biblical catechesis using a school 
Bible as text, or a course that is mainly liturgical (Sacraments, 
Mass, Ecclesiastical Year), should be introduced? 12 

In the upper grades the catechism should come into its own 

12 Discussion on this subject was begun in die ChPBl, Vol. 64 (1951), 
pp. 289-294. 



and should receive its just due. As a rule, the catechist will have 
to be content with covering the whole of the catechism once 
during this time. This can be accomplished by apportioning 
the various sections to the different years. In accordance with 
long tradition the catechist will, in these upper classes, use 
the school Bible in addition to the catechism; and he can try to 
take the children through Sacred Scripture to the extent of 
w^hich they are capable. Naturally in those instances in which 
there are only two religion periods per week at his disposal, the 
catechist must be satisfied with expounding only a few extracts — 
but he should try to induce the children to read the Bible at 
home. In those cases in which four such periods are allotted to 
the teacher, as in the majority of German dioceses, the tradi- 
tional solution would be: the teacher (other than the catechist) 
should take over the teaching of the biblical catechesis for two 
of these periods, while the catechist uses the other two exclu- 
sively for the catechism. 

True, such a division of work has its pedagogical disadvan- 
tages, and so various attempts have been made to bring these 
two courses together or at least to eliminate their more obvious 
shortcomings. At the Munich Catechetical Congress this ques- 
tion was thoroughly discussed, but no solution was reached. 13 
It would certainly be an underestimation of the importance of 
biblical catechesis if, with the older catcchetics, it was accord- 
ed a position subordinate to the catechism. 14 We must remember 

13 See the reports of K. Raab and P. Bergmann, Zweiter Katcchetischer 
Kongrefi Mtinchen 1928 (Donauworth: Ludwig Auer, 1928), pp. 196-231. 
— A weighty argument raised against uniformity was the idea that 
school master and priest should each represent a self-rontained subject 
in its entirety. Consult the discussion which was carried on about it in 
Eggersdorfer, op. cit., pp. 227 ff. 

14 F. J. Knecht, Praktischer Kommentar zur Biblischen Geschichte, Preface 
to the first edition (Freiburg: Herder, 1882), and was still repeated in the 
19th edition (1903) but was suppressed in the twenty-third (1913); see 



that the school Bible is as much a religion book of the Church 
as is the catechism, and that the same doctrines are contained 
in it as in the catechism, although written in a different manner. 

The teaching plan can effect in outline a definite coordina- 
tion, and bring about what theorists call a "symbiosis of sub- 
jects", in the sense that the Old Testament is treated in con- 
junction or side by side with the moral law; the life and passion 
of Jesus Christ with the doctrine of Christ and the Redemption ; 
the history of the early Church and its continuation in Church 
history with the doctrine of the Church and the Sacraments. 

Such a combination is all the easier if the catechism takes 
into account, more fully than formerly, the historical character 
of the Christian religion. On the other hand, a merger in one 
book and in one course of study cannot be carried out naturally 
and still be effective. Either Bible History is made the basis in 
such a course of study, in which case certain sections of the 
catechism will have to be interpolated into it. The systematic 
character of the catechism will then be destroyed unless these 
interpolations are few in number and in large sections, and we 
would have, as an end result, although in enlarged format, that 
which would suffice for die lowxr grades, namely, a religion 
booklet. Or, if the catechism is chosen as the basis, the chrono- 
logical order of the biblical account must be discarded. In either 
case catcchesis loses something that is valuable. The catechism 
arranged in lesson units, which usually start with a biblical 
passage, preserves valuable scriptural elements for catechesis, 
and by so doing supplements to a large extent instruction on the 
Bible, even in the most unfavourable circumstances. 15 It should 

F. J. Knecht (M. F. Glancey, trans.), Practical Commentary on the Holy 
Scripture (Translated from the 16th edition) (5th ed.; St. Louis: Herder, 

15 F. Schreibmayr, "Bibel und Katechismus " inKBl, Vol. 71 (1946), pp. 
73-81 and also pp. 116-118, which contain the remarks of J. Wiesheu 



not, however, sacrifice the systematic character of the catechism 
or of catechesis, nor should it devote too much space to details, 
as can be done in biblical catechesis and is so very desirable in the 
interest of the educational result. 

There is no need to provide especially in the plan, even in the 
upper grades, for the liturgy and the life of prayer. In as much 
as liturgy and prayer are concerned with the Sacrament of the 
Eucharist and the Mass, and with the intrinsic nature of prayer 
and divine worship, care must be taken that it be done within 
the framework of the catechism. Beyond this, religious subjects 
of a practical nature, especially the liturgy, should be part of 
every catechesis — byway of application and as incidental instruc- 
tion — in which the teacher deals with materials that are actually 
outside the topics of the catecheses themselves but arise naturally. 
For example, a feast is to be celebrated in the near future, or a 
celebration in which the children love to take part. In general 
the value of incidental (informal) instruction must not be under- 
rated. It can make use of subjects outside the normal course 
when a favourable opportunity arises. What is best learned is 
learned incidentally. 

We must mention here that principle for the teaching plan 
which was championed by Josef Gottler (d. 1935) and which 
we can label "sacramental grading". 16 The course which we 

who championed anew the combination of the two, and the answer of 
F. Schreibmayr ; cf. J. Heeg, Jesus and I (Chicago: Loyola University, 
1 934) who teaches prayers and prepares children for First Confession and 
Communion through the use of the Bible narrative. F. Drinkwater, "The 
Ideal Catechism" in Religion in School Again (London: Burns, Oates,1935), 
pp. 166-168; E. A. Fitzpatrick and P. F. Tanner, Methods of Teaching Reli- 
gion in Elementary Schools (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1939), pp. 21-42; H.Borg- 
mzrm, Libica (Baltimore: J. Murphy, 1930) who essays a threefold prin- 
ciple as the core of the religion period: Liturgy, Bible and the catechism. 
16 J. Gottler, Religions- und Moralpddagogik (2nd; Minister, 1931), pp. 
11-118. Gottler has presented this idea in many different publications 
since he first broached it. In certain sections of the U.S.A. this plan, 



have outlined thus far would be brought into harmony with 
this principle, necessarily modified so that the reception of one 
of the sacraments, first Confession, first Holy Communion 
and also Confirmation would be made the culminating point 
of the instructions of each year. Since, according to this usage, 
prevalent everywhere, Confession should precede the reception 
of Holy Communion, and since the maturity which would 
permit the child to receive the sacrament of Penance with the 
earnestness that is required is not generally reached before the 
third year, the following order would result. In the first year 
visual instructions on religious and moral topics; a two year 
course based on Bible History; then a "one or two year course 
on the Sacraments"; upon this a two or three year course on the 
catechism; finally a preparatory course for Confirmation, 
offering subject matter from apologetics carefully prepared 
with a view to encouraging further study in adulthood. 

The obvious advantages of such a teaching plan cannot 
be denied. By it the reception of the sacraments is accorded a 
prominent place in that it conforms to certain religious and 
educational high lights which introduce in the children a sense 
of expectancy in regard to what they will be taught and what 
they will receive in the course of the year. 

This idea was actually incorporated into the syllabus of the 
Bavarian dioceses as well as into the Fulda teaching plan. In 
these first Confession and first Communion were placed in the 
third and fourth grade (not in the fourth and fifth, as had been 
provided for by Gottler). This was, however, more feasible 
then, since in those German dioceses late first Communions 
were customary, and an earlier first Communion (that is, 
midway between early and late) appeared to be the only 

although perhaps without all the refinements he proposes, has been used 
in connection with the Year Round Instructions and the Vacation School, 
and certainly in other religion classes for public school children. 



possible solution. Gottler had, however, intended that his 
proposal should be a definitive solution. Such a late first Com- 
munion, however, can no longer be reconciled with the precept 
of the Church which sets the anni discretionis as the age at which 
first Holy Communion is to be administered. Even looking at 
the matter in itself, it appears to be unreasonable to make 
children, who have been ready for the reception of the sacra- 
ment so long and who are perhaps more worthy to receive it 
than their elders, wait for years simply for the sake of possible 
psychological and pedagogical benefit. 

Objections may also be raised against such a plan, especially 
if an entire year would have to be spent treating of such a 
sombre theme as the sacrament of Penance. Children, out of 
reverence for the Eucharist, are required to make their con- 
fession before they receive first Holy Communion. For them 
this has a different meaning and not that importance that it 
has for adults. Instruction on Penance cannot be as profound 
in the lower grades as it ought to be. 

On the other hand, first Confession and first Holy Com- 
munion do constitute important highlights of the catechesis in 
the lower grades. Appropriate time can, however, be devoted 
to them in the Bible History classes in the second year. The 
religion book could establish a link between the relevant 
passages in the Old and New Testaments and both sacraments, 
and thereby ensure that all the demands that are laid down for 
their reception are met. In many instances, moreover, special 
instructions for first Communion and first Confession are 
given in preparation for these sacraments, in addition to the 
ordinary catechesis which is imparted in school. 17 

So that the basic principles for the construction of the teaching 
plan might not be misunderstood, two further additions 

17 See below, pp. 300-329. 


appear to be necessary : one of these is concerned with the what, 
and the other with the how of religious training. 

2. The Basic Catechism 

We can never realize our proposed objective, namely, that all 
the material provided for in the teaching plan will be mastered 
by all the children. We are as a consequence faced with the 
problem of a minimum of religious knowledge, which we 
must ensure that all children should acquire. This is the 
problem of a basic catechism. 18 By a basic catechism we mean 
the whole of knowledge and of moral dispositions which 
everyone ought to acquire in order to lead a Christian life and 
to work out his salvation. It is much more important as early 
as possible to provide each child with a minimum amount of 
religious equipment necessary for life than it is to explain an 
abundance of material which only a few can possibly assimilate. 
We must apply the ancient principle: non multn scd multum. 

What are the essential points that must be taught? They are 
not to be identified with those six basic truths 19 which up to 

18 M. Gatterer, Katechetik (4th ed. ; Innsbruck: Rauch, 1931), pp. 311 ff, 
pp. 486 ff.; G. B. Garrone, "What ought a catechism to contain?" 
in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 5 (1950), pp. 593-602. 

19 That the "six basic truths" were required from the beginning 
of the 18th century, we are able to prove. At that time they 
were grouped together for the purpose of showing what a Christian 
"had to know and believe expressly" necessitate medii as was still pre- 
scribed in the Austrian catechism of 1894. Besides the truths drawn 
from Heb. 11, 6, Trinity, Incarnation, and the immortality of the 
soul, a sixth basic truth was introduced, namely, "the grace of 
God is necessary to obtain eternal happiness", an addition that was 
necessitated by the Jansenistic controversy. Still other enumerations in 
other catechisms included those points of doctrine which had to be 
known necessitate praecepti. Hofmger, pp. 134-137. An "acte defoi" of the 
Belgian catechism of 1946 enumerates the first four of these fundamental 
truths, and drops the other two. 



the present have at least in part been placed at the beginning 
of catechisms ; for we are not dealing merely with the fulfilment 
of our obligation to believe, which theologians wished to define 
with these points, and for which the Apostles' Creed no longer 
seemed to suffice, but with what is necessary as a foundation for 
a Christian attitude and for a Christian conduct of life. We 
are concerned here with the minimum essentials of a Christian 
economy of salvation. 20 

To this belongs, first of all, the knowledge, or better still, the 
awareness of the immensity and the absolute dominion of God, 
the orientation of ourselves to life hereafter according to his will. 
To this pertains also the knowledge that Christ is God and man 
and also our Redeemer, that he has shown us the road to heaven, 
that the Catholic Church teaches and guides us because of 
her commission. To these we must add as a minimum for our 
religious life in the Church, a knowledge of the sacraments 
through which we are sanctified (especially of the Eucharist 
and the sacrament of Penance) and of the conditions which 
must be fulfilled to receive the sacrament of Penance; an 
understanding of the essentials of the Sacrifice of the Mass 
and of the manner in which we should assist at it; finally the 
prayers most important for Catholics. 21 Since these must be 
taught as set formulas, they should be learned by heart and, thus 
learnt, they will serve as memory aids to recall the doctrine 
contained in them (Our Father, Apostles' Creed). 

The commandments of God confirm the natural moral law; 
they are made known to us by the voice of conscience. As a 
consequence, from the standpoint of the basic catechism it is not 

20 That a picture of the whole of Christianity should be given to the 
children and even to the smallest among them is a concern that lies close 
to the heart of Hirscher, Katechetik (3rd ed.), pp. 59 f., 80 fF. and passim. 

21 The points of doctrine which are listed here agree fairly closely 
with what Cardinal Gasparri offered in his Catechismus Catholicus as a 
catechism for First Communicants. 



absolutely necessary to expend the same care on all the details 
of their explanation. The catechist would, however, do well 
always to come back to the basic law, that we must obey God, 
and to the moral senses which all Christians should possess 
and which are contained in the double commandment of love 
of God and neighbour. 

From the first or at least from the second year on, these 
subjects should be repeated in different contexts and in different 
ways, and the catechist should treat them with special warmth. 
We need not fear that by such a repetition we might revert to 
the concentric cycle type of treatment ; for we are dealing here 
with the centre itself, with the innermost core of Christian 
doctrine. We should, however, always try to approach these 
basic truths from a new angle perhaps starting from a biblical 
episode, or from the celebration of a feast, or from an aspect 
of the liturgy, or from a special division of the catechism. 22 
Only little of this needs to be retained in literal formation. 
As Karl Raab has said: "What has been retained should be 
revived by repetition through reading and prayer, so that the 
pupil can make it his own." 23 

On the other hand it should be clear that under normal 
circumstances we must not be content with this basic catechism, 
but ought to provide the children with as thorough a religious 
instruction as possible, yet we should not be led astray by the 
idea that we may not teach the children anything they do not 
fully understand. In the teaching of faith we are constantly 
confronted with mysteries; even adults are not able to under- 
stand them. That is why it suffices if, with the help of a good 

22 The necessity of keeping alive in the hearts of the children a know- 
ledge of the basic truths of faith is especially stressed by Hirscher, Kate- 
chetik, pp. 384-412. To them we can apply the words of Sacred Scripture, 
Deut. 11, 18-21. 

23 Raab, p. 149. 



method, we succeed in partially explaining certain obscurities 
and imparting to the children some inkling of their content. 
We must not, for example, withhold from the children such 
doctrines as inspiration, original sin, a one true Church. 

In moral teaching, too, everything essential should be men- 
tioned. We must stress consequently the principle of actuality : 
that is to say, we must touch first of all upon those moral 
commands which the children are already observing and in 
which they are themselves interested. This should not lead us 
to neglect other teachings of the Christian moral law. It is by 
no means without value if the children learn to judge 
correctly those moral conditions with which they are not yet 
familiar, but with which they will be later confronted, and to 
associate, early on, the notions of good and evil with actions 
pertaining to the world of adults. 24 For example, the awfulness 
of perjury, the correct concept of work, the duties of one's state 
of life, and last but not least the obligations of parents. This is 
the task of forming the conscience which need not be limited 
to purely contemporary considerations. 

3. Concentration 

The second element which should help to form a correct con- 
cept of every teaching plan concerns the basic principle of 
concentration. Concentration of instruction is required by didac- 
tics in each and every subject. 25 We should not attempt to 
inculcate in the children a large number of details — details which 
are unrelated and have only a remote relationship; we should 
rather strive as far as possible to focus the particular upon a 

24 It is impossible to give the children of this age level in the elemen- 
tary school a sufficiently detailed knowledge of matters that pertain to 
sex. But this is a point that will be discussed later. 

25 Eggersdorfer, pp. 121-133; A. N. Fuerst, op. cit., Vol. II (1946), pp. 



common centre by which we can reduce the manifold to 
a unity and the parts to a whole. In this way we will succeed in 
instilling into the children a unified picture of the whole 
of reality. This is the objective which corresponds most 
closely with Christian ideology. It is also the purpose of the 
modern "education of the whole person" theory. The world 
which God created is not a chaos but a cosmos. The image of the 
world in our knowledge of truth should therefore be a cosmos. 

The centre upon which theorists seek to concentrate the 
varied material offered in the secular subjects is the pupil's 
home or his native land. 26 The children are to be made aware 
of their environment and, to an ever greater degree, of the world 
which lies closest to them. This connection with their native 
soil is to increase their interest in the more technical subjects 
such as arithmetic and writing. As far as these subjects are con- 
cerned, the native land may suffice as a centre. For the whole of 
instruction and the whole of education such a focal point must 
be sought in something still more profound: in our ultimate 
home, heaven. In a Catholic environment and in a genuine 
Catholic school worthy of the name, such a deepening can be 
taken for granted. At the centre of the pupil's own interests 
should be the parish church and the religious practices which 
illuminate his life and give it cohesion. 

Catholic education will thus constantly attempt to connect 
all points on the periphery with the centre, with God, his laws 
and his kingdom. But not only should there be links between 
the secular subjects and religion, the catechist too will strive to 

26 On this point, consult Eggersdorfer, pp. 205-223; and also pp. 118f., 
26, where an extensive bibliography may also be found. In the U.S.A. 
the words that are used to express somewhat the same idea are the "field 
trip", and " school journey" ; ci . E. Dale, Audio-Visual Methods in Teaching 
(New York: Dryden Press, 1946), pp. 42-43. R. de Kieffer and L. W. 
Cochran, Manuel of Audio-Visual Techniques (New York: Prentice-Hall, 
1955), pp. 79-83. 



bring religion into relation with the secular branches and thus to 
guide the children to God. He should be only too glad to avail 
himself of those aids which these other subjects offer him to 
realize this aim. The reader may sometimes offer valuable hints, 
knowledge of the natural sciences may help to illuminate the 
greatness and the wisdom of God. Geography may be enlisted, 
not only when the teacher speaks of the Holy Land, or of the 
Holy Father in Rome, but also in order to localize incidents 
taken from the lives of the saints or to give background to stories 
of the missions. Even arithmetic can serve to show how much 
money is wasted on drink or what the parents have to spend in 
the course of a year to provide food and clothing for the children. 

The catcchist should utilize to the full the principle of con- 
centration within the framework of the subject matter which he 
teaches. This is not difficult, since the three great branches of 
catechetical instruction as we have seen are only three aspects of 
one and the same revealed truth and since the catechetical 
subject matter is ultimately nothing but the one message of the 
way of salvation. 

The way of salvation is the way to God, which we follow in 
union with Christ. As a consequence, there will always be two 
thoughts which we must constantly stress: God and Christ, 
God-centredness and Christ-centredness. These two notions are 
closely associated; but they must not be confused. God-centred- 
ness denotes the complete orientation of our life as human beings ; 
this is posited by creation and constitutes the basic law even of 
Christianity. 27 Christ-centredness, however, refers to the presen- 
tation of those doctrines, institutions, and aids, through which 
we attain to union with God in the Christian faith. 

27 We must avoid a "panchristism" which in zealous excess replaces 
God by Christ, and thus practically denies the mediation of Christ 
and along with it die whole structure of the Christian faith. Such 
expressions find their way frequently into Protestant piety, but they 
can sometimes also be found in Catholic devotional literature. 



God-ccntrcdncss demands that our teaching should always 
lead to thoughts of God, his right of dominion over us, our duty 
of obedience to his will. This obedience should be translated 
into the Christian terms of faith, hope and charity. According to 
the admonition of St. Augustine, we should so speak that "he, 
by hearing, may believe, and by believing hope, and by hoping 
love". 28 Christ-centredness concerns the ways and means of 
salvation, so that it becomes clear to the children that all these 
are ultimately focused on the person of Christ, that grace means 
participating in his life, that the sacraments at different stages in 
our life effect union with him and obtain from him justification, 
sanctification, and in certain instances divine powers; that the 
Catholic Church is the Church in which the work of salvation is 
continued; that we venerate Mary as His Mother and the saints 
as his friends, in whom the light of his holiness may be seen, as 
it were, under different forms. 

Likewise in Bible History, which should retrace the ways of 
the history of salvation, Christ must be made the centre, 
even in the Old Testament, which is delineated by St. Paul 
himself as "our tutor unto Christ" (Gal. 3, 24). We should not 
be satisfied merely to explain to the children those Messianic 
prophecies and those prototypes of the Redeemer which God 
Himself has designated as such, but in the spirit of patristic 
theology and of the liturgy we should advance still farther and 
should point out the more notable parallels, or even better, 
wc should permit the children themselves to discover and to 
establish those parallels which exist between Old Testament 
personages and the reality of the New; thus, for example, in 
Isaac who carried the wood of sacrifice up the mountain himself; 
in the angels of Jacob's Ladder, who ascended and descended; in 
the Egyptian Joseph, one of a group of twelve, who was sold 
into slavery, innocently condemned, thrown into a pit and then 

28 De catechiz. rudibus, c. 4; J. P. Christopher, op. cit., p. 24. 



into prison, and finally was made king; in Moses who as a 
child was persecuted, and ultimately rescued by God, and who 
led the Israelites into the Promised Land. 29 In this way the 
children will gradually awaken to the realization that Christ, 
who is the focal point of all history, possesses a grandeur that 
surpasses time and place. 

In his efforts properly to evaluate the central facts of the 
Christian economy of redemption, the catechist will find an 
incomparable ally in the liturgy. He needs only to follow the 
course of the ecclesiastical year, to arrive along with his charges 
at the illuminating centre of the great mysteries of faith. 30 It 
is that core which that great German, Bishop Sailer, defined as : 
"God in Christ, the redemption of a sinful world." 31 From this 
we should realize that the catechist may not think that he has 
finished his task when he has offered corroboration for the 
fundamental notions of faith; he must move on, for he has to 
awaken that supernatural joy which blossoms so easily in the 
hearts of children, and he must make it efficacious for their 
lives and their aspirations. 32 

A concrete teaching plan, which is the standard and to be 
followed by the individual catechist, will as a rule, be issued by 
the diocesan authorities. Such a plan, however, cannot 

29 A collection of parallels which may be used with profit in catechesis 
may be seen in J. Dreyssen, "Verheissung im Alten Testament — Er- 
fullung im Neuen Testament" in KBl, Vol. 72, pp. 103-108. An extensive 
presentation of patristic materials can be consulted in J. Daniclou, Bible 
and Liturgy (University of Notre Dame Press, 1958). R. Beron, With 
the Bible through the Church Year (New York: Pantheon Books, 

30 M. Pfliegler, Heilige Bildung (Salzburg: A. Pustet, 1933), pp. 81-107; 
idem, Der Religionsunterricht , Vol. Ill, p. 85. — Th. Kampmann, Mysterium 
und Gestalt des Kirchenjahres (with wall-charts) (Paderborn: F. Schoningh, 
1952) ; B. Strasser, With Christ Through the Year (Milwaukee : Bruce, 1947). 

31 F. X. Arnold, Dienst am Glauben (Freiburg: Herder, 1948), p. 37. 

32 The so-called "reflections" play a leading role in the educational 



regulate down to the last detail the procedure employed in 
catechesis for the individual grades, otherwise it would prove 
to be a shackle for the catechist who has to work in different 
circumstances and under conditions which are constantly 
changing. A more precise division of the subject matter in 
accordance with the number of hours at his disposal must be 
made by the catechist himself. 

The catechist should keep a "class record" of the subject 
matter that he treats. This "record" he either does for himself 
or — as is customary in Austrian schools — in conjunction with 
the other teachers for all branches in the same class. This weekly 
record permits a rapid survey of the state of catechesis. This 
record becomes even more important when there is a change 
of religious instruction. Through the weekly record the sub- 
stitute (or successor) can quickly apprise himself of what has 
been done, and so is enabled to carry on the work of his pre- 
decessor without interruption. 

practice of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, founded by St. John 
Baptist de la Salle. Since catechesis was conceived to be something more 
than a mere imparting of knowledge, the first five minutes at the begin- 
ning of every instruction were to be used for an explanation of one of 
the central truths of our religion. In the early years of this Congregation, 
the reflections dealt with the following points on the five days of the 
week : the salvation of the soul, the uncertainty of the hour of death, the 
service of God, to die rather than to commit a sin, safeguards against 
danger. At the present time these themes are allowed a wider interpretation. 
Consult W. Stein, Anregende Ermahmmgen zur Herzensbildung und Willens- 
ubung, 2 vols. 3/4 (Kirnach-Villingen, 1921) (I, 4th ed.), pp. 15-23 give 
the historical sources; L. di Maria, "L'educazione religiosa dei fanciulli 
nelle scuole elementari rette in Italia dai Fratelli delle Scuole Cristiane" in 
Lumen Vitae, Vol. 1 (1946), pp. 665-676. Br. Plrilip, Considerations for 
Christian Teachers (2nd ed.; Baltimore: J. Murphy, 1922), pp. 177-182. 
From another angle very pertinent suggestions can be advanced to enable 
the children to acquire certain "leading thoughts". These thoughts, which 
are frequently repeated and are made the object of self-examination, e. g., 
"I am a soldier of Christ"; "We carry a torch". In this fashion: M. A. 
Gramlich, Gehet hin und lehret (Freiburg: Herder, 1949), pp. 11-15. 




1. Learning from Texts 

After having attempted to throw some light upon the task of 
catechesis, and also upon the material aspect of its content, we 
can now approach the question of its correct formal qualities, 
the problem of method. 

Method ([ii &o8o<;: [jL£Ta-6S6^) means "the way to", or 
"after-way", that is, the procedure necessary to reach a goal. 
In the sphere of instruction it denotes "the procedure which 
the teacher adopts to enable the pupils to follow him" (Gottler). 

Genuine method is always a realistic procedure, a process 
which is adjusted or adapted to the task to be done and to the 
actual means at our disposal. Now, the task of catechesis never 
remains the same period after period; and the resources which 
are available are constantly changing. As a consequence, method 
should not be rigid. Method should, furthermore, not be 
employed in a stereotyped or mechanical fashion; it must be 
flexible; it must be pliable enough to permit adaptation to 
definite objects and in accordance with concrete resources. To a 
certain extent, however, both the task and the resources are 
fixed. That is why wc are able to discuss this task as well as the 
psychological make-up of the children. For the same reason we 
can formulate in broad general outline a universally valid and 
fixed method of catechesis. 

It will be one method, although separate methodical instruc- 
tions might be developed for a catechesis on the catechism, 
or for Bible catechesis, or for a catechesis on any other kind of 



subject. The differences between them, however, would not 
be so profound that we could not envisage a common stock of 
norms valid for all forms of instruction. These norms flow 
naturally from the task of training the children in their religion, 
a task which remains always the same. We can, therefore, dis- 
cuss the chief problems of methodology in a general methodo- 
logy. 1 But so as not to lose touch with concrete circumstances in 
the following considerations, we must constantly keep before us 
the classical exemplification of catechesis : namely, catechism- 
catechesis, because the difficulties connected with it are greatest 
and because from it we can obtain sufficient suggestions to 
permit us to make satisfactory adaptions to other subjects. The 
special difficulty of catechism-catechesis is to be found in the 
fact that as a rule it treats of abstract doctrines. These abstract 
doctrines have the advantage of being universally valid and 
possessing both clarity and conciseness. Their disadvantage, 
however, is that they can be understood only with difficulty by 
children; they are as it were kernels enclosed within hard shells 
which must be broken in order to extract the goodness inside. 
In contrast, subjects like Bible History, Church History, and 
liturgical catechesis, because of their concrete character, are at 
once close to the children's understanding. In fact, in most cases, 
they need only to be presented and to be made fruitful. 

What we are looking for, therefore, is a way to construct the 
catechism-catechesis correctly and in particular the single 

1 J. Cottier, " Alte mid neue Unterrichtsstilistik " in Zweiter Katcche- 
tischer Kongress (Miinchen: Ludwig Auer, 1929), pp. 106-120, and 
especially pp. 109f. — The special features of method for the different 
subjects: Bible History, Christian doctrine, Prayer, Liturgy, Church 
History, etc., are especially described in H. Mayer, Katechetik, pp. 113fF.; 
J. Baierl, R. G. Bandas, et ah, Religions Instruction and Education (New 
York: Wagner, 1938); Sr. M. Agnesine, Teaching Religion for Living 
(Milwaukee : Bruce, 1952); J. B. Collins, Teaching Religion (Milwaukee: 
Bruce, 1953); A. N. Fuerst, op. cit., vols. I and II. 



religious instruction period. We shall not now consider the 
beginning of such a period which usually serves for recapitulat- 
ing matters already treated in a previous lesson. Here we intend 
to develop the way in which new subject matter should be 

The correct construction of a catechesis in this sense is the 
key problem of catechetical methodology, just as it was also 
the key problem of the catechetical movement at the beginning 
of the present century. The state of the question will become 
clearer in the light of what, up to that time, had been considered 
to be proper catechetical method and its guiding principles. 
The text-explanatory method was practically universal at the 
time. The catechism questions were taken through one after 
another. Each question was read out aloud and then explained 
by the catechist in his own words. If illustrative material was 
needed, the catechist had recourse to the words and examples 
of the Bible. Occasionally he added a moral to be drawn before 
proceeding to the next question. Whatever he treated in this 
fashion in class was assigned to be learned by heart. 2 To what 

2 This method was not always employed in the same way. Often 
in the course of the first hour the catechist read or recited the text of the 
catechism and gave an explanation of its terms when the question and 
answer were difficult to understand. He then permitted the children to 
memorize the answer and after he had asked questions one by one, only 
in the following class did he attempt to offer an explanation of the matter. 
Thus, it was taught in former times, and in this form we can see it in the 
introduction to Fr. Schoberl's work in 1888. Cf. G. Kifmger, KBl, Vol. 
63 (1937), p. 328; F. H. Drinkwater, Religion in School Again (London: 
Burns, Oates, 1935), pp. 87-91. One of the last defenders of this anti- 
quated method, W. H. Meunier, Die Lehrmethode ini Katechismus-Unter- 
richt (Cologne, 1905), pp. 50 ff, names five different parts of which every 
catechesis should be composed, in imitation of a didactic sermon : expla- 
nation, confirmation (corroboration), repetition, application to life, 
and paraenesis. — Other catechists refused to give up suggestions which 
they had gleaned from the era of enlightenment and added to the expla- 
nation a great number of questions for memorization by the children. 



extremes and in what exclusive forms this exegesis-like method 

was still being propounded at the end of the nineteenth century 

may be seen from an official instruction addressed to Austrian 

teachers of religion at that time: 3 

"Although in the foregoing the principal conditions for a fruitful 
catechesis have been laid down, these are not the only ones. Moreover, 
it is important to understand that the procedure in catechesis be methodo- 
logically and pedagogically sound as well as adapted to its purpose. In 
this respect, we recommend the following points : 1 . In the explanation, 
the catechist should keep exactly the wording of the catechism without 
adding other matter, for example, from other catechisms. The con- 
tent of the prescribed catechism is in itself so rich that the catechist need 
not waste time searching for subject matter outside it. We would advise 
that the catechist either personally read the answer slowly and with the 
proper emphasis or permit it to be read by the pupils. Then when this 
has been done, he should divide the answer into its component parts, 
first by singling out the subject and predicate of the sentence and their 
modifiers, and then by stressing the relative clauses pertaining both 
to the subject and to the predicate. This simple analysis often suffices 
to make the matter sufficiently clear. Should a word, however, require 
explanation, the catechist should give it, but in so doing he should 
avoid verbosity, which instead of throwing light on the subject often 
renders it still more obscure or wastes precious time. ... 5. The cate- 
chist should not forget occasionally to address a few words of admoni- 
tion to the pupils without giving the impression of sermonizing. Should 
fitting thoughts prove difficult to find, the catechist may take these 
from the appended instructions." 

Such a procedure was "good exegesis, but poor catechesis". 
To be sure it was a very easy method, but one which scarcely 
deserved the name. The priest catechist was able to give such 
an explanation of words and phrases without any special pre- 
paration, simply by relying on his theological training. 4 But 
even when he employed this method with care, he actually 

3 A passage of this kind is reproduced in W. Pichler, Unser Religions- 
tmterricht (Vienna, 1907), pp. 129f. 

4 It is worthwhile noting that up to the turn of the century many 
commentaries on the catechism were published, but never any detailed 
catecheses, in which the authors showed how the matter should be 
treated and be given concrete form. 



forced the children into a procedure which was at best suitable 
only for students working at a higher level. It was completely 
overlooked that a child's thought process depends wholly on 
sense data. Nor was it considered that the instruction in ques- 
tion should contain not only doctrine but also religious nourish- 
ment, and that this should be the decisive factor in the chil- 
dren's education. 

It is true that this last consideration w T as less important in 
former times than it is today, since the family and life in the 
community had the effect of a religious education to an extent 
greater than they have now. Catechesis could thus confine itself, 
without too harmful results, to the teaching of purely religious 
knowledge. Indeed, for centuries, ever since there was a 
catechesis for children, this system had survived without 
upsetting anyone. The text-explanatory method in its extreme 
form coincided with the introduction of catechism instruction 
into the schools and with the enlarged catechism. In earlier times, 
when the catechisms were shorter, the catechist had sufficient 
time to extend the explanations as much as he liked. 5 In the 
meantime, due to changes in external circumstances, the educa- 
tive effect of catechesis has become one of the most acute prob- 
lems of pastoral work. As a first step there was the demand that 
the content of catechesis, should at least once be imparted 

5 The Practica Catechismi which appeared in the sixteenth century, 
probably the work of St. Peter Canisius, stressed very strongly the 
element of perceptibility in the instruction: "The catechist should speak 
slowly, and he should take care to have ready stories especially of holy 
persons who led good lives from infancy on. Also beautiful comparisons 
and parables .... Likewise at Christmas he should build for them a crib, 
with Mary and Joseph, angels, and ass and an ox, in such a way that the 
children can cradle the Christ Child to the tune of Resonet puer natus, 
In dulci jubilo, both in Latin and in German." And he adds: "The Jews 
know their Talmud, and the Turks the Koran, which is their dogma, 
better than we Christians know the catechism." F. J. Knecht, "Kate- 
chetik" in Kirchenlexikon, Vol. VII (1891), pp. 271 f. 



to the understanding of the children and that the purely logical 
instruction should be given with an eye to the psychological 
make-up of the child. 

Above all it was necessary that the catechesis should be under- 
standable. This v/as based on the fundamental psychological 
principle of Aristotelian-Scholastic philosophy, Cognitio incipit 
a sensibus, which means that everything that is not acquired 
from inner experience, that is absorbed from without — natural 
knowledge of God as well as revealed religion comes to us from 
without — gains entry into the soul through the senses, and must 
in some fashion or other be perceptible, so that the mind, 
abstracting from it, can arrive at an idea. This law is universally 
valid; it is of special importance, however, for the instruction 
of children. Adults have, during the course of years, formed 
many notions from originally perceptible material and it can be 
assumed that they have these notions. Children, however, are 
only at the beginning of their mental activity. That is why we 
must always begin with that with which they are acquainted 
and traverse with them the process of recognition from the 

If we should neglect this, and in its stead offer the 
children ready-made notions, we would expose ourselves to the 
danger of giving the children only a knowledge of words and 
no more. "Notions cannot be received like presents, for notions, 
thus handed on are neither understood nor usable and they are 
without influence on life." 6 

That is why the Catechetical Movement took this demand for 
perceptibility as its starting point, 7 and from it developed the 
basic principles for the construction of catechesis. The Movement 

6 Pfliegler, Vol. Ill, p. 42. 

7 The demand for concreteness formed a chief topic of discussion 
during the first catechetical courses; 1905-1908; cf. Pfliegler, Vol. Ill, 
pp. 142 ff. 



achieved a kind of graded catechesis based on various steps. 
These steps, which are borrowed from the laws of human 
psychology, give a definite form to the instruction. According 
to these laws the acquisition of knowledge begins with the 
perceptible object, proceeds to thought and finally to action in 
accordance with the powers of the senses, the understanding 
and the will. The system of steps has a long history, but, 
they were first formulated for teaching in the nineteenth 
century, and in their essential features, were defined by the 
German philosopher Johann Friedrich Herbart (d. 1841), and 
then in more detail by his pupil, Thuiskon Ziller (d. 1882). 

Ziller required above all the division of the teaching matter 
into so-called methodical unities: each period of instruction 
should form a complete whole with a unified theme. It should 
then be developed according to the steps system. Ziller sug- 
gested six steps of which the first two are preliminary ones. 8 

8 Ziller suggested these steps: 1. Statement of objective: this 
acquaints the pupils with what the period is to accomplish, and serves to 
arouse their interest. — 2. Preparation or analysis (in the sense of opening 
up the spiritual world — the terminology of Ziller especially in the use 
of Greek terms is unfortunate). Drawing on the pupils' previous know- 
ledge of this step helps apperception in such a way that they are enabled to 
understand the new matter. Previously acquired knowledge of the 
pupils is evoked and when necessary supplemented. — 3. Presentation or 
synthesis: the new matter is propounded through the medium of clear 
and precise concepts. — 4. Association: abstract and generally valid 
factors are seized upon. — 5. Systematization : what has been taught and 
understood is integrated into the matter that is already known. — 
6. Method: the matter acquired in the process is brought to life and 
fruition by means of practice and application. — Cf. J. J. Wolfe, "For- 
malstufen" in Lex ikon der Padagogik, Vol. I (1913), pp. 1336-1342. One 
weakness of the formal steps of Ziller is that in the Herbartian philo- 
sophy which he followed a representation and a concept are not sufficiently 
differentiated; O. Willmanii, Ans Horsaal und Schulstube (Freiburg: 
Herder, 1904), pp. 32 f . ; F. Eby, The Development of Modern Education 
(2nd ed.; New York: Prentice-Hall, 1953), pp. 471-495.— The steps 
became better understood and were used more frequently only much 
later, after the Catechetical Movement was already in full swing; the 
adaptation was made by W. Rein, Padagogik in systematischer Darstellung, 



Otto Willmann (d. 1920) was a pupil of Zillcr and a leading 
Catholic pedagogue at the beginning of the century. He 
rendered a great service to the Catechetical Movement in 
Germany. He rid the steps theory of the influence of Herbart's 
philosophy and restored its essential outlines.. 9 

He retained the primary assumption of methodical unity 
but suggested only three steps, corresponding to the faculties 
of the soul: memory, understanding and will. The resulting 
three steps are as follows : 

1. Presentation: a perceptible basis is offered, 

2. Explanation: notions are singled out, 

3. Application: references to life are established. 
Looked at from the standpoint of the children they are : 

1. Perception, 

2. Understanding, 

3. Practical application. 10 

The catechists of the Munich Catechetical Society, among 
whom Heinrich Stieglitz played a prominent role, found in 
these three steps what they had been searching for for such a 
Jong time. They fought against the pure "test analysis" and the 

3 vols. (2nd ed. ; Langensalza, 1912), Vol. Ill, pp. 246 ff. Cf. Eggersdorfer, 
pp. 358 ff. Because Eggersdorfer in repeating the steps of Ziller failed 
to include the statement of purpose, we arrive already at the five steps 
which Rein proposed: 1. Preparation, 2. Presentation, 3. Association, 
4. Synthesis, 5. Application; P. Monroe (editor), A Cyclopedia of Education, 
5 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1911-1913), Vol. V, pp". 419-420; 
P. J. Marique, History of Christian Education, 3 vols. (New York : Fordham 
Univ. 1932), Vol. Ill, pp. 117-127. 

9 Pfliegler, Vol. Ill, pp. 198-206. 

10 O. Willmann, Didaktik (6th ed.; Freiburg-Wien: Herder, 1957), 
pp. 442-452, and especially p. 444. — For the third step Willmann used 
the expressions, Confirmation, and eventually Elaboration. O. Willmann 
(F. Kirsch, trans.), The Science of Education, 2 vols. (Beatty, Pa. : Archabbey 
Press, 1922), Vol. II, pp. 210-222, and especially, p. 216; cf. L. Nolle, 
"The Formal Steps in Religious Education" The Catholic Educational 
Review, Vol. VII (1909), p. 7, 



merely logical treatment of the subject ar a kind of psychological 
procedure. Their aims are recorded in numerous articles and 
discussions in the Katechetische Blatter of the years 1896-1903. 
Their work resulted in the establishment of five steps: 

1. Preparation, 

2. Presentation, 

3. Explanation, 

4. Summary, 

5. Application. 

They recognized, however, (as early as 1900) that Willmann's 
three steps contained everything essential. Hence it was 
customary to recognize three major steps and two minor 
steps, preparation and summary, the latter generally today 
called "deepening". 11 The new method being completed, it 
became popular and was accepted. Because of the place of its 
origin it is generally called the' 'Munich Method". In opposition 
to the "text-explanatory" method it is described today as the 
"text-developing" method because the catechism text is not 
the starting point but has first to be developed. 

The principles of this new method are actually so clear that 
it is not surprising that in their essential broad outlines they 
can also be met with in the past and under circumstances not 
specifically concerned with children. 

Christ Himself was the precursor. He did not, like the 
Pharisees, take propositions from the Law or from the Prophets 
in order to rephrase their contents in different words. If the 
situation did not supply Him with a starting point, He spoke in 
parables or used examples taken from the world around Him. 
In these His audience quickly discerned a deeper meaning. 
He emphasized this meaning which usually concerned the 
invisible world of God's kingdom and concluded with a 

11 Pfliegler, Vol. Ill, pp. 206-210. 


challenge: "Go and do likewise", "He who has ears to hear, 
let him hear." 

In his Liber Didascalicus , Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1141) dis- 
tinguishes three steps in the absorption of intellectual matter: 
lectio, meditatio, operatio, which correspond to the steps: per- 
ception, understanding, application. In the Introductions which 
he gives for meditative prayer, St. Ignatius frequently recom- 
mended a similar course. The retreatant should first of all try 
to picture to himself the event; he should then attempt with his 
understanding to fathom its purpose, its meaning, and its bear- 
ing; finally he should seek to draw from it something beneficial 
for his own spiritual life. For a long time similar directions have 
been given to preachers to observe the steps: propositio, 
explicatio, applicatio. 

As a model for this method (somewhat condensed) a catcchesis 
written by the leader of the Munich Catechetical Movement, 
Heinrich Stieglitz, may help to acquaint the catcchist with its 
advantages as well as with certain disadvantages, chiefly the 
undue emphasis placed on understanding which in the develop- 
ment that followed had to be overcome. 12 

Sins against Faith 

Preparation. Dear children, it is God's will that we all honour and 
adore God Almighty with body and soul. Let us review this important 
duty. (Question the children briefly on the preceding lesson) — You have 
already learned about faith. Is faith necessary for salvation? Christ says: 
"He that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 15, 16). Will any 
faith save a man? Which Church has the genuine faith that will save us? 
Why has the Catholic Church the true faith? How could the Catholic 
Church preserve the true faith pure and undefiled throughout the cen- 
turies? Where shall we find the chief truths which the Church teaches? 
Faith is necessary. But between faith and faith there is a whole world 

12 J. J. Baierl, The Commandments Explained (2nd ed.; Rochester, N. 
Y.: Seminary Press, 1925), pp. 61-68. 



of difference. Our faith must be a living faith. We must show our faith 
by our daily life and actions. 

Alms. The true faith is a great grace. To lose the faith is, therefore, a 
great misfortune. We shall see that today. I am going to tell you about a 
certain young man, who lost his faith. From this we shall learn how a 
Christian may sin grievously against holy faith, but also how careful 
you ought to be to preserve the grace of faith in your hearts. 

Presentation. Anthony was a good boy. His mother loved him and 
watched over him as the apple of her eye. But alas! she was obliged to 
leave this w T orld all too soon. With her heart overflowing with motherly 
solicitude she spoke to Anthony as she lay upon her death bed: "My 
child! soon you will no longer have a mother. Listen to what I have to 
say to you. Fear God and keep His Commandments! Remain strong in 
the faith; be faithful to His Church! May Mary be your mother! She 
will protect you in all danger." Weeping, the boy kissed the hand of his 
dying mother and promised: "Mother, I promise to do all that you 
ask!" Soon afterwards his mother closed her eyes in death. 

The boy remained faithful to his promise for a while. But soon he 
grew to be careless in studying his catechism. And when he became a 
young man he fell in with bad companions. Day after day he heard their 
wicked talk and their ridicule about prayer and attendance at church and 
everything that we Catholics hold sacred. At first he became angry 
at this sort of talk and at times spoke strong words in defence of his 
faith. However, he did not have the courage and the strength to separate 
himself from his false friends. That was unfortunate for him. Gradually he 
became hardened to their continual criticism and ridicule and in the end 
he even laughed with them and boldly took part in those conversations. 

Henceforth matters continually went from bad to worse. He read bad 
books, that were filled with irreligion and infidelity; yes, he swallowed 
those writings most greedily. For hours at a time he would think about 
these things, until he was no longer able to find his way out of those 
difficulties. "What if all that I have hitherto believed were really not true? " 
Such doubts troubled him continually. It was not very long before he 
made up his mind, saying: "Oh, one faith is as good as another; every 
religion is good in God's sight." He ceased praying; he went to church 
only occasionally and he no longer received the holy sacraments even at 
Easter time. Religion became for him only a secondary concern. 

One day there was a public meeting. Anthony and his companions, too, 
attended it. A false apostle made a malicious speech ridiculing the Church. 
Addressing himself to any Catholics present, he said, "The Roman 
Church is filled with superstition and idolatry. We Protestants 



have the pure gospel of Christ. Therefore separate yourselves from 
Rome!" Some foolish young people wrote their names in a list as a 
sign of their apostasy from the Catholic faith. Anthony was among the 
number of these blind persons. He had forgotten all. The poor young 
man also attended the Protestant services several times ; once he even went 
to the Lord's Supper. But soon he had enough of this new faith. He 
continued to fall more deeply, until finally he lost all faith. "There is 
no heaven, no hell, no God; everything ends with death" was 
henceforth his gospel. 

However, God's grace did not abandon this poor sinner. A severe 
illness struck him down. In his feverish dreams he saw his good mother. 
She was weeping bitter tears and was complaining: "Anthony! what did 
you promise me upon my death bed? What have you done?" "O 
mother!" the lost son cried out. Suddenly he awoke. It was also an 
awakening from a life of sin. At once he called for a priest and confessed 
his grievous guilt. And when he received Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, 
he became very happy and prayed aloud: "O my Jesus! I firmly believe 
all that Thy holy Church teaches. In this faith I will live and die." Only 
a few days more remained for this young man in which to repent. But 
as he was dying he prayed again so beautifully and in such a Christian 
manner: "O God! I have deserved death. Gladly will I die as penance 
for my sins. Lord, be merciful to me a sinner! " 

Explanation. 1 . Dangers. There you see how a person can gradually, 
step by step, sink into the mire of infidelity and approach the very 
edge of destruction. That young man was brought up piously and in a 
truly Christian manner by a good mother. How then did he come into 
evil ways? His wicked companions were to blame for this. If a good 
apple is placed among rotten ones, what happens? Is it not true, that soon 
the good apple becomes affected by the decay? That very thing happened 
to our young friend. His heart was as yet unspotted and pure ; but soon 
in the company of bad companions it became tainted with the corruption 
of unbelief. What did these seducers do? — Of course at first Anthony did 
not want to listen to these godless conversations; he even defended his 
religion. What else ought he to have done? — The voice of his conscience, 
too, admonished and warned him: Flee away from these poisonous 
snakes, or they will surely destroy you! But he did not listen to the voice 
of God and was unwilling to leave his friends. That was already a mortal 
sin. For it is a serious danger to listen to impious language. 

Soon there came a second danger — bad books. What is found in such 
books? In these w T ritings appear false teachings about the Christian 
faith. Such books, which defend a false Christian faith or irreligion, 



are called heretical books. In other books there is to be found much 
ridicule about God and religion; the Church and the priests and the 
sacraments are bespattered with the poison of ridicule and scorn. Such 
books, which preach and praise unbelief or infidelity, are called godless 
and impious books. You can easily imagine what an impression the 
reading of such heretical and impious books made upon the inexperienced 
young man of our story. Drop by drop the poison of infidelity made 
its way into this young man's heart; he was in danger of losing his faith. 
Yes, the reading of heretical and impious books is also a great danger to 
faith and is, therefore, a grievous sin against faith. 

2. Doubts. What then were the fruits, which resulted from the 
keeping of company with wicked friends and from the reading of bad 
books? — Soon doubts against faith began to make themselves felt. 
What did the young man think to himself? — Perhaps what my friends are 
saying is really true! What if that which is printed in these books is 
really true? Then one needs no longer to live as a Christian. Therefore 
a free life! That is what would have pleased him very much. What 
ought he to have done with those doubts? — He ought to have driven 
them away from his mind at once; then they would not have been sins 
at all. However, he entertained himself with those doubts as with dear 
friends. That was indeed a serious sin. For wilful doubts against faith 
are a serious sin against faith. Our faith must be firm. For what we 
believe comes from God; but God is eternal, infallible truth. 

3. Indifference. But Anthony did not stop at doubts against faith. 
Soon a new and wicked fruit began to show itself. The young man 
became careless and indifferent towards his holy religion. He thought to 
himself that every religion is true in God's sight. Therefore it is all the same 
whether a person be Catholic or Protestant. It does not matter so much 
what one believes, provided only that one lives a good life. To be 
sure, many a fallen away Catholic talks like that; but God judges other- 
wise. Indifference in matters of faith is a serious sin against faith. 

A person, that thinks in that way generally too, lives in accordance 
with that belief. Was not that the case with Anthony? — Very soon he 
found no pleasure any more in prayers and in assisting at divine service 
and in the reception of the sacraments. Gradually he grew colder and 
more indifferent in the practice of his religion. 

(In a similar fashion by means of examples the catechist can explain: 
4. denial of faith, 5. heresy, 6. atheism.) 

Write on the blackboard: 

You sin against faith — against the first Commandment 
a. by neglecting to study what God has taught, 



by neglecting to know some Christian doctrine, 
b. by neglecting to practise your faith 

by failing to acknowledge the true Church 

by believing that you can be saved in a state of apostasy. 

Application, a. Danger to faith. "Resist the beginning", says an old 
proverb. If that young man had done that, he would not have gone so 
far astray. Wicked friends sowed the poisonous seeds in his heart. Beware 
of persons who ridicule the faith! Just as wicked is the reading of bad 
books. Nowadays there is a regular deluge of bad books and newspapers. 
In them the devil preaches the finest sermon every day. And he has many 
zealous hearers, many more than the priest in the Church. But he only 
chloroforms their consciences, in order that he may make them poor and 
weak in the faith. What must one do? Cast aside all such writings! They 
poison the heart. You, too, can lose your faith, this most precious jewel. 

b. Doubts about faith. Doubts against faith can come to anyone. In 
itself that is not a misfortune. If a bee alights upon your face, what do 
you do? Do you not chase it away at once? Otherwise it may sting 
you. Act in the same way when doubts come to you against your holy 
faith. Chase away the doubt from your heart, otherwise it might 
wound your soul. Pray at once as that young man did on his death-bed : 
"O my God! I believe all that the Church teaches. In this faith will I 
live and die. O Lord! increase my faith." Often awaken the virtue of 
faith by such acts, so that it may not go to sleep in your hearts. Many 
people do not believe, because they are poorly instructed in the faith. 
Inform yourselves thoroughly in the faith by studying your Christian 
doctrine well; and if you do not understand some doctrine, ask for 

c. Denial of faith. Queen Christina of Sweden became a Catholic.But she 
wanted to keep it a secret and asked the Holy Father to give her permis- 
sion to attend a Protestant service once a year at Easter and to receive 
the bread and wine in that church. The Pope refused. Why? Because 
allowing her request would have been tantamount to a denial of faith. 
The Queen accepted his decision and gave up her throne. Her faith was 
dearer to her than her crown. — May Catholics attend Protestant 
services? No. May they attend a Protestant funeral? Yes. 

d. Infidelity. Who is an infidel? Infidelity is a great misfortune; for 
without faith there is no heaven. But surely many heathens have gone 
to heaven. How can that be? — The heathens, too, hear God's voice in 
their hearts. If they obey that voice, they can obtain salvation. No one 
is lost except through one's own fault. — There are infidels even among 
Christians. Whence comes unbelief? Surely not from being wise and 
learned, but rather from being proud or from being wicked. 



e. Heresy. Who is a heretic? Are you allowed to attend a Protestant 
church? — No. May you, without denying your faith, be present at the 
funeral or marriage of a Protestant? — -Yes. Protestants are heretics, 
but to be a Protestant is not of itself a sin. Most of them are in 
error through no fault of their own and believe that they are in the right. 
But whoever knows the truth and refuses to believe it, cannot obtain 
heaven. But to be a Catholic is a great blessing. Thank God for that 
every day and be a really good Catholic! "Thanks be to God, that I am a 

For about a decade the Munich Method was under fire. 13 
Dogmatic difficulties were raised against it. It was said that the 
method offends against the Catholic rule of faith. Dogmas 
cannot be derived from stories even if the stories are taken from 
the Bible. These dogmas must be received reverently from the 
Church and then imparted to the children. However, the Church 
presents these dogmas to us in the catechism, consequently the 
text of the catechism could only be explained to the children 
according to the traditional "authoritative" (text-explanatory) 
method. In answer we may say that the Church is not content 
w T itb giving the children a book, she sends them a catechist. 
The catechist is obliged to speak to the children in such a way 
that they are able to understand him. He must begin with 
visible facts, which is what a child's mind requires. The children 
should then find the results of his catechesis summarized in the 
answers of the catechism. In such a procedure the Catholic rule 
of faith remains safeguarded, the new method simply pieparing 
the children to receive from the Church not merely words but 
also their content and meaning. 

13 Cf. Pfliegler, Vol. Ill, pp. 210-214. — A selection of the most impor- 
tant reactions to the method, emanating from one of the most important 
reviews of pastoral theology, is given by W. Pichler, Unser Religions- 
unterricht (Vienna, 1907), p. 130. One of the more severe attacks on 
the Munich Method was delivered by W. H. Meunier, Die Lchrme- 
thode im Katechismus-Unterricht (Cologne, 1905). Cf. also R. Bandas, 

op. cit., especially pp. 206-210; J. T. McMahon, Some Methods of Teaching 

Religion (London: Burns, Oates, 1928), pp. 106-118. 



Akin to this objection was the criticism that the Munich 
Method simply took over the Herbart-Ziller system of steps. 
This objection is hardly worth considering. Some connections 
certainly existed even though prominent catechists had not 
realized it. 14 This connection was due to the catechesis given in 
schools and to the resulting contacts between catechists and 
teachers of secular subjects. We can only deplore the fact that 
many years had to pass before the experiences gained in secular 
education could be applied also to the teaching of the Catholic 

Of more importance were the objections raised against the 
method from the standpoint of didactics. These were not so 
formidable as to dislocate the method entirely, but they did 
lead to certain limitations. Such limitations were: 

1. There are subjects which the Munich Method does not 
cover: hymns, prayers and doctrinal tests. With these subjects 
it is better to use the text-explanatory method. Often when 
the catechist has to cover ground rapidly he will content him- 
self with explanations of the text. He will then, especially with 
his younger pupils, stress the perceptible elements and whenever 
possible place these at the beginning of his instruction. 15 Indeed, 
he will, when explaining a hymn, first develop its basic idea or 
situation and then proceed to explanation. 

2. It is not always necessary to tell a story. A description of 
real events or of what the children themselves have experienced 
personally, or a wall picture, may be equally satisfactory. 

14 In J. Baier, Methodik der religiosen Unterweisung (Wiirzburg, 1897), 
p. VII (Preface) and passim, it is evident that the Herbart-Ziller didactic 
was not unknown in catechetical circles in Bavaria even before the turn 
of the century. 

15 If, for example, the catechist has to explain the hymn, " I adore Thee 
humbly", he must anticipate his explanation by giving the meaning of 
the word, "light": "a human being errs because he is in darkness, God 
is light." 



3. It is not necessary that the presentation should contain all 
points of doctrine. 16 This would severely overtax the skill of the 
catechist. In many instances, especially if several dogmas have 
to be dealt with in the same period, this cannot be done without 
artificiality. It is sufficient to give some of the children an 
understanding of the subject by means of a presentation which 
appeals to their senses; more precise details can be added later 
on, or, if necessary, by means of a shortened, new presentation. 

4. The text-developing method will remain the rule for the 
older children. An abridged form of it may be used, particularly 
when the more advanced children have already acquired some 
knowledge of the subject. This will be the case particularly 
when a topic has already been dealt with in class and on the 
basis of sensible data. For this reason, the text-developing method 
can gradually be dispensed with in the case of children 
of the intermediate grades in secondary schools. 

5. The Munich Method deals only with the problems con- 
nected with the psychological form of the catechesis, but the 
synthesis presented in the catechism as well as the material of 
each single catechesis have their own logical structure which 
must be fully expressed. 17 For this reason the perceptible pre- 
sentation will sometimes be replaced by the logic of the content 
or, in the step of explanation, certain details of the presentation 
might be used or applications be anticipated. 

6. The logical structure of instruction should never be lost 
sight of. In the Catechetical Movement, Otto Willmann 
emphatically insisted on this in the face of a misleading termino- 
logy. Theorists often used terms like "synthesis" and "synthetic 
method" as opposed to "analysis" and "analytical method" 
which was said to have prevailed up to that time, for in the new 

16 As is often the case in the catecheses of Stieglitz; see what was said 
in the passage which we have quoted above, p. 97. 

17 Cf. Eggersdorfer, p. 351. 



method the catechism text was "to be pieced together" (syn- 
thesized) from the perceptible elements. It was not realized, 
however, that notions like "synthesis" and "analysis" belong to 
the logical order and have the opposite meaning, so much so 
that the new method should have been called "analytical". 
Actually, from the logical point of view, the catechist, in the 
instruction, analyzes the concrete event, the concrete image 
that has been previously presented. In the step of explanation 
he omits the special characteristics and by abstraction arrives at 
the concept, at the general law, at the concisely phrased doctrine, 
of the catechism answer. He then proceeds to the synthesis: 
the catechism answer, the doctrine, the principle must again 
be "pieced together" from the concrete characteristics and 
must be applied to life. This happens in the step of application. 
The "text-developing" method thus embraces both procedures, 
analysis and synthesis. 18 

7. Lastly, one final restriction must be made. The "text- 
developing" method is the classical form of catechesis, or at least 
the normal form. The young catechist must school himself in 
this procedure, until its basic outlines become self-evident for 
him. He may then gradually permit himself more and more 
latitude in applying it, provided that he remembers clearly his 
proper task and the psychological laws of the children in his 
care. In place of the strict order of the steps system the catechist 
may sometimes substitute "free or original structural elements 
in various numbers and orders according to the stage of the 
instruction". 19 In fact, circumstances may often dictate that 

18 This misunderstanding can be avoided, if we speak of a "text- 
synthetic" as opposed to a "text-analytic" method as has frequently been 
done: J. M. Wolfe, "The Processes of Analysis and Synthesis in Relation 
to the Teaching of Religion" in The Educational Review , Vol. 22 (1924), 
pp. 463-472. 

19 G. Gotzel, KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), p. 210, together with A. Heuser - 
J. Solzbacher, Katholischer Religionsunterricht (Hannover, 1949) who 



such an "arbitrary treatment" of the method actually be used. 
The superficiality and the carelessness of the children may, 
perhaps, compel the catechist to offer new concrete material to 
enable the children to grasp some part of the instruction that is 
being given to them; he may be forced to have recourse to 
some homely incident, or to devote more time to some chance 
question of the children, to some momentary interest, to achieve 
his educational aim. In this way the strict succession of steps 
which the classical form of the method prescribes may scarcely 
be recognized any longer. 

With such clarifications the text-developing method has 
finally attained universal recognition. This method has also 
exercised some influence in other countries and has contributed 
to the solution of problems in much the same fashion. 20 Only 
recently a change has taken place in the method of catechesis 

deviates from the strict order of the steps to a large extent. — Similarly 
Eggersdorfer, p. 350: the steps "do not tell us how the consti- 
tutive elements of the instruction must be arranged in every instance, but 
they do tell us what are the elements which we must take into considera- 
tion during the act of instructing, if we are to satisfy the psychological 
laws which regulate all formation"; cf. the survey in Eggersdorfer 
"Die Kurve katechetischer Bewegung in Deutschland in einem halben 
Jahrhundert" in KBl, Vol. 76 (1951), pp. 10-19. One sentence which 
summarizes his essay runs as follows: "For the catechist the scheme of 
the steps should be much like an examination of conscience." 

20 A. Boyer, Pedagogie chretienne I (Paris, 1947), p. 196, says on one 
occasion when discussing the Munich Method in connection with his 
appraisal of American methods : " Son rayonnement fut universe I ". — The 
Spanish Bishop, D. Llorente, in his very learned Tratado elemental de 
Pedagogia Catequlstica (6th ed.; Valladolid, 1948), p. 165, begins his 
methodological directives with a chapter dedicated to : Metodo psicologico 
de Munich. See also F. Biirkli, Methode und Methoden im Religions- 
unterricht (Zur Methodik des Religionsunterrichts. Ref erate der 4. schweiz. 
Seelsorgetagung [Lucerne 1945], pp. 75-86); A. E. Meyer, The Deve- 
lopment of Education in the Twentieth Century (New York: Prentice- 
Hall, 1939), pp. 1-124. 



in missionary countries where the need for a psychological 
approach was equally urgent. 21 

So much having been attained, the discussions on basic 
catechetical method did not end, new suggestions were and are 
being made. Although the basic outlines were not affected by 
them, further elaboration was achieved. It was necessary to 
advance further in the direction of making the catechesis both 
vital and effective for the lives of the children since they now 
understood what they were being taught. At this juncture a 
valuable contribution was discovered in two new pedagogical 
currents which became known as the ' 'Learn by doing" and 
the "Principle of personal experience' ' methods. The purpose 
of both these principles was to give to children something more 
than instruction, which they absorbed more or less passively. 
The intention of the former was to stimulate the children's 
own powers and to utilize to the full their experiences. Accord- 
ing to the latter, the teacher should not only aim at their under- 
standing but, by appealing to their emotions, should attempt 
to instil into them the values inherent in the subject being taught. 

2. Vitalizing the Method 

The " Learn by Doing" Principle 

The catchword "learn by doing" or "the work school" is 
taken from secular teaching, from which the formal steps were 
also drawn. It denotes that method of instruction in which the 

21 J. Thauren, Die religiose Unterweisung in den Heidenlandem (Vienna, 
1935) in which he establishes on the basis of questionnaires, that, at that 
time, in the majority of the missions all instructions began with the cate- 
chism and that these instructions consisted simply in explaining it word 
for word in the traditional (sic) way — an exception was the biblico-gene- 
tical method employed by the White Fathers in Uganda. — An attempt 
to arouse and to encourage better methods was made in the Blatter fur die 
Missionskatechese und katechetische Zusammenarheit der Lander which were 



children learn "by doing", or "by working", that is through 
their own activity. The Munich educationalist, Georg Kerschen- 
steiner (d. 1932), used the term for the first time in 1908. 
He received the stimulus for it in the course of a journey 
through the United States where he became acquainted with 
the American technical schools. The idea caught on quickly 
everywhere. The term, however, soon began to be understood 
in different senses : on the one hand manual activity was stressed, 
as if the aim of the school actually was to prepare children to 
become good craftsmen; on the other hand, the intellectual 
cooperation of the pupils with the teacher, and the forms which 
corresponded to this cooperation both inside and outside the 
school, was meant. 

The new principle was relevant to catechesis only insofar as it 
signified the intellectual cooperation of the children with the 
catechist. Consequently we speak of the "active school" in con- 
nection with catechesis but not as if it offered an entirely revolu- 
tionary method or represented a methodological innovation. In 
general its sense would be better understood if instead of 
"activity method" we used the term "activity principle". 22 

published in Vienna, 1935-1938; F. F. Ewing (ed.), "The Training of 
Converts" in Proceedings of the Fordham University Conference of Mission 
Specialists, First Annual Meeting, Jan. 24-25, 1953 (New York: Fordham 
University Press, 1953), pp. 29 — 37 in which E. G. Mommaerts offers his 
views on "World Survey of Contemporary Training Systems for Con- 

22 S. G. Noble, A History of American Education (New York: Rinehart 
& Co., 1953), pp. 397-403; J. Dewey, The School and Society (Chicago: 
University Press, 1913); The Thirty-third Yearbook of the National Society 
for the Study of Education, Part. II, The Activity Movement (Blooming- 
ton, 111.: Public School Publ. Co., 1934) in which such phrases as "activ- 
ity movement", "child-centered school", "activity curriculum", 
"creative youth", or "center of interest" are all used as synonyms for 
activity. Active Committee, " Creative Schools ,} } The National Elementary 
Principal Twenty-third Yearbook, July 1944, Vol. XXIII, No. 6; E. J. 
Power, "Progressive Education and Bishop Spalding "in The CatholicEdu- 



In its essentials, this method had already been embodied in 
the three steps. By means of the activity principle, however, 
they receive the more definite directive that the children should 
cooperate as much as they possibly can. For a long time it had 
become increasingly evident that that instruction, to which 
they merely listened passively, had no lasting results in the 
children, even though the catechist had taken care to make the 
subject matter understandable. Children must not be lectured at. 
The instruction makes a much deeper impression when the 
children are able to collaborate in acquiring new knowledge. 23 
This cooperation should not, however, be limited only to the 
understanding, but should enlist as far as possible all the faculties 
of the children and should use all forms of expression. In this 
way the catechist can lighten the burden of apperception, that is, 
the spontaneous reception and assimilation of the subject matter. 
Such a course will be all the more important the greater the 
expected educative result, as is the case in religious education. 
If the life of the child is to be formed in a Christian fashion, this 
formation must begin in catechesis in as many ways as possible. 
Thus Gottler said at the first Catechetical Congress, 1912: 
"The demand for 'an active school' must therefore be met by 
religion more than by the other secular subjects." 24 For this 

cational Review, Vol. 51 (1953), pp. 671-679; J. A. Hardon, "John Dewey, 
Prophet of American Naturalism" iaThe Catholic Educational Review, V ol. 
50 (1952), pp. 433-445; 505-517; 577-588. 

23 This idea can be found in St. Thomas, De veritate, q. 11 (= De 
magistro) a. 1.; cf. St. Thomas (J. V. McGlynn, trans.), Truth (Chicago: 
Regnery), Vol. II (1953), pp. 77-87. In the educational process the teacher 
has the same role as that of a doctor toward his patient; the patient is 
cured chiefly by nature which knows how to take care of itself. The 
doctor is only a servant of nature (minister naturae); he is called in to lend 
his assistance to nature. It is, however, nature which is active and effects 
the cure (principaliter opcratur); cf . O. Willmann, Aus Horsaal und Schul- 
stube (Freiburg: Herder, 1904), pp. 4-45. 

24 Refer ate des Kongresses filr Katechetik (Vienna, 1912), I, 4. 



reason in German catechetical circles the "Arbcitsschule" (work- 
school) was also called "Tatschulc" (the school of action). 25 

In order to understand the various forms of collaboration, we 
must examine them as they w r ere developed in the secular sub- 
jects. The teacher attempts to incorporate as much variety as 
possible into the curriculum: school trips, inspection tours, 
assistance at festivals, to be followcd-up by an oral or written 
report by the children. In the school itself, drawing, painting, 
and singing take on a new meaning. Various forms of handicraft 
are added: modelling, carving, carpentry. In the actual instruc- 
tion, greater use is made of question and answer. The teacher 
no longer simply presents the subject matter in the form of a 
lecture. The children learn by means of "informative discus- 
sions" which are carried on between teacher and pupils. 

Among the more radical forms of the active school, the 
traditional roles of the teacher and pupil within the class are 
interchanged. The children ask the questions, not the teacher. 
Whenever possible, the children give the answers. From this 
there emerge the pupil-initiated discussions in which the 
teacher acts only as chairman and guide. If a problem is posed, 
the children, unasked, consider its implications and express 
their opinions, their views, and their solutions, but always in 
the form of a well-disciplined discussion, so that only one pupil 
at a time stands up and only one speaks. It is hoped that a school 

25 Cf. the two volumes Religion und Lehen, Arheiten des Mihichener 
Katechetenvereins , gesammelt von G. Gotzel (Religionspddagogischc Zeit- 
fragen 4/5,) (Munich: Kosel und Pustet, 1920). — At the second catecheti- 
cal congress in Munich (1928) the activity principle was one of the chief 
topics of discussion; cf. "Der Bericht" op. tit., pp. 69 ff. — A new orienta- 
tion to it was given by F. Kopp, " Grundf ormen der Arbeitsschule " in 
KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), pp. 49-57 and also pp. 163 ff.; cf. also R. Dunigan, 
"New York's Activity School" in The Catholic Educational Review, Vol.41 
(1943), pp. 408-415; Sr. M. Raymond Carter, "A Catholic Activity 
Program" inThe Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 44 (1946), pp. 259-271. 



conducted in such a way might contribute considerably to 
social education. The teacher may be asked unusual questions 
by the children, yet only in this way can he become acquainted 
with their true interests in order to build upon them. The direct 
exchange of ideas among the children, even mutual help in class, 
is not proscribed by the active school. Restlessness in the class- 
room that is due to work need not, however, be discouraged. 

It is clear that in such a method only a teacher of genius can 
ensure orderly progress in the work of instruction. But it is 
true of some schools in the U.S.A., for example, that the teaching 
personnel is specially trained in such an instructional method 
(among other things, "panel discussions"), and that the children 
are prepared for life by an education in which mutual assistance, 
well-ordered community cooperation, and social living are 
self-evident principles. 

A special type of the active school cultivated in the U.S.A. 
promotes "group work". 26 The class is divided into groups of 
about four children each. Each group is given a problem to 
solve. They all contribute to its solution. If the subject matter 
permits, the problem assigned differs with each group, but it 
forms a part of a larger whole. They may be told to look up 
some point in a book, to make an observation, to perform a 
calculation, to draw up plans for a dramatic play, et cetera. The 
group leader reports his results which are then pooled and fully 
discussed in common. 27 These are methods which have been 

26 J. U. Michaelis and P. R. Grim, The Student Teacher in the Elemen- 
tary School (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1953), pp. 192-209; A. G. Melvin, 
General Methods of Teaching (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1953), pp. 173 
to 197. 

27 A. Witak, Moderne Gruppenarbeit (Vienna, 1950). In opposition to 
the praise poured out on "group work", we should examine the objec- 
tions which have been raised against it ; thus by G. Wossner, Lemen und 
Lehren an f der Stufe der Volksschule (Stuttgart, 1948), pp. 135f; cf. also 
G. Johnson, " The Activity Principle in the Light of Catholic Principles " in 



derived from science and which are especially suitable in the 
case of advanced pupils enabling them to develop latent abilities. 
They are, however, employed and are recommended for use 
also in other subjects and at the elementary school level. 

Extremist supporters of the active school would like to assign 
the task of teaching to the pupils and not to the teacher. The 
pupils, organized into school communities, are to determine the 
matter of the instruction as well as the details of the school 
discipline, because it is thought that the creative powers of the 
children can thus be developed. These people, however, over- 
look a basic principle of all teaching, namely, that in most 
instances the content of the instruction cannot be acquired by 
private work, but must be accepted from others ; they negate a 
cardinal principle of all education, namely, that through their 
class work the children should learn to fit themselves for life 
in an ordered society. On the basis of his own personal experi- 
ence, Michael Pfliegler pronounces his judgement on the children 
who were the supposed beneficiaries of such instruction in the 
Vienna schools, from the elementary grades to the university 
level: "Frequently, all powers of reflection arc lost. The pupils 
are livelier, and cleverer than before, but also more superficial, 
more disrespectful, more glib, less capable of being taught. 
They are impertinent and forward, incapable of deep feeling, 
thin and worn out. . . . They have forgotten how to listen, as 
well as to obey." 28 

For some time now, thoughtful educators have circumscribed 
the scope of the active school, even in secular subjects. 29 Their 

The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 39 (1941), pp. 65-72; R. E. KalirhofF, 
"Traditional Objectives and Progressive Methods" in The Catholic Edu- 
cational Review, Vol. 49 (1951), pp. 434-445 and pp. 601-615; Sr. M. 
Callixta, " Activity and Intellectual Discipline" in The Catholic Educational 
Review, Vol. 39 (1941), pp. 547-556. 

28 Pfliegler, Vol. Ill (1935), pp. 270f. 

29 T. J. Quigley, "The Implications of Religious Education" in The 



strictures are even more relevant for catechesis which deals with 
revealed truth. Although approving in principle the method of 
the active school and its objectives, the German Bishops' Con- 
ference at Fulda emphatically stressed its limitations as early as 
1924. 30 It is the duty of the catechist as the ambassador of God 
to instill into the children the riches of faith; it is not the duty of 
the children to acquire these truths solely by their own unaided 
efforts. It is true that truths of the natural order, for example, 
many precepts of the moral law, may be arrived at by class 
discussion. It is also true that one truth of faith may be illumi- 
nated and clarified by another with which the children are 
already familiar, for example, the full powers of the Church 
which are deduced from the threefold office of Christ, or the 
value of the sacrament of Penance derived from a consideration 
of sin on the one hand, and of grace on the other. By reviewing 
subject matter that has been treated in class, the children may 
with the help of the catechist be able to solve new problems, such 
as those suggested in the new catechisms at the end of the 
lessons. Biblical events and the mysteries of faith, however, can 
not be acquired by the personal efforts of the children. A further 
stricture is the fact that the content of Christian doctrine is not 
only meant for the mind, but also for the heart. In those instances 
in which the subject matter is designed to touch the heart the 
religious instruction period should not be spent in idle dis- 
cussion, rather the catechist should speak and the children 
should listen in silence. 

Within these limits the principles of the active school can be 
of value to catechists. The text-developing method can receive 

Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 40 (1942), pp. 264-273; Eggersdorfer, 
pp. 151-163; J. T. McMahon, "A Trinity of Disciples— Body, Intellect, 
Will" in The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 39 (1941), pp. 133-140. 
30 The text of the agreement may be seen in Gottler, Religions- und 
Moralpadagogik, pp. 203-205. 



both support and development from it, because this activity 
principle does aim to affect the lives of the children. The extent 
to which it may be employed will in particular cases depend 
entirely on the fact, how the children of the classes in question 
are being taught in the other branches. For children who are 
accustomed to a great deal of personal activity, the catcchist 
must allow as much freedom and liberty of movement as 
possible and entrust them with more ambitious work. In the 
case of others, who have been trained only to listen passively, 
he should not become unduly perturbed about their apparent 
inertia. For the average case, certain principles may be laid down. 
The collaboration of the children should be enlisted especially 
in the preliminary step of preparation, with certain reservations 
respecting the explanation, and the application. 

The beginning is generally a preparation which indicates the 
purpose of the lesson. It is necessary to build upon the know- 
ledge already acquired by the children and to awaken their 
interest in the subject matter. The ground has to be ploughed, 
before it can be sown. 31 The catechist should permit the children 
to tell what they know of the matter. For example, wishing 
to treat of Baptism; he may ask the question: " which of you 
has been at a Baptism?" or, if he wishes to discuss the law for 
the observance of Sunday: "Why should we go to church 
on Sunday?" Perhaps, in a previous period, he might have 
given them home-work to do which in his mind would serve 
the formal steps of preparation. Once the children have their own 
knowledge, acquired by their own limited experience, and in 
this process have given voice to the feeling that there is much 
unexplored territory still to be covered, especially such as can 
be of importance for their own lives, the catechist may feel 
that he has captured their interest and can embark upon the 
formal step of presentation of his own matter. 

31 Cf. Pfliegler, Vol. II, pp. 174ff. 



111 the presentation, itself, there is usually no room for a dis- 
cussion between the teacher and the class unless the catechist 
should utilize experiences which the children have already 
made, or should deal with examples which are sufficiently 
well-known to his pupils. 

In the explanation, there is room for the activity of the 
children. Helped by the questions of the catechist, the children 
may, from examples, from actual events, learn the essential 
facts, the general law, the rule, and so arrive at a knowledge of 
the doctrine. But the definitive formulation, at least when 
dealing with the statements of the catechism, must not be 
left to the children, but should be reserved to the catechist. 

Finally, another opportunity for collaboration is afforded 
in the step of application. This can be done, first of all, by per- 
mitting the children to draw conclusions, to offer solutions for 
particular cases, to judge examples and by applying what they 
have already learned: prayer, song, and confession. We intend 
to come back to this point later. 

From what has already been said, it is clear that the most 
important means at the disposal of the catechist in the " active 
method" is the question. For centuries the sole means by which 
catechesis was differentiated from preaching was by questioning. 
Undoubtedly the word itself frequently suggests an investiga- 
tion, a test of sorts; the teacher asks questions about the instruc- 
tion. The "active school" demands in addition that the catechist 
employ "the exploratory question" and the "thought-provok- 
ing question". From these derive the instructive, the informa- 
tive discussion. 

In the era of Enlightenment, these different types of questions 
were generously employed in catechesis. In fact the ideal of 
catechesis was thought to consist of their unlimited utilization, 
of asking what the pupils knew, of following the Socratic 
method. Precisely because of this preoccupation with the 



question, questioning itself fell into desuetude. It is clear, 
however, that the " exploratory question" can be valuable for 
catechesis. When the catechist, for example, in the step of 
explanation, has explained a difficult part of the subject matter, 
he may by means of questions be able to determine whether 
the children have understood what he has told them, and can 
repeat it in their own words. Of even greater importance is 
the " thought-provoking" question which may impel the 
children to think for themselves. They will be encouraged by 
the catechist to draw their own conclusions from the premises 
which have already been presented, to derive the doctrine from 
a story, to apply from a principle to a given case. 

As we have already indicated, questioning should not be 
employed indiscriminately. Much less may the time for cate- 
chesis be spent simply in asking questions. Especially during 
the presentation, the catechist alone should be speaking. The 
question should be phrased correctly; it should not be couch- 
ed in too general terms. "What is man?" "What can the 
priest do?" are too general. The question should not cover 
several different points under one heading ("when and why 
should we pray") ; it must be worded in such a way, that only 
one precise answer can be given to it. 

The question should be asked with tact. Reverence for the 
saints and the guileless faith of the children should not surfer 
because of it; for example, a catechist should never introduce a 
topic by a question which voices a doubt. Saint Thomas might 
begin a question: "It would seem as if God did not exist", 
but children are not yet able to distinguish between a metho- 
dical and genuine doubt. 

The question should be addressed to the entire class. The 
children should be induced to show modestly when they are 
ready to answer. One of the children is usually called upon to 
give the answer. This procedure has the advantage of compell- 



ing all the children to be prepared to reply. The catechist should 
see to it that the less talented children are also occasionally 
afforded an opportunity of making a contribution. In general, 
the answer should be given in the form of a complete sentence. 
Sometimes, it may be defective, perhaps because the child is 
unable to find the right expressions. In such an emergency the 
patient love of the catechist should manifest itself, so that "the 
glimmering spark is not extinguished", but is helped along 
with kindness and understanding. The catechist who knows 
how to manipulate the question method is like the conductor 
of an orchestra. Each child contributes his own particular 
instrumentation to the whole as drum, piccolo or first violin. 
The catechist gives the signal to join in and they collaborate. 32 

The other forms of the active school which are utilized in the 
secular branches may only be sparingly used by the catechist in 
catechesis — as a rule he does not have an overabundance of 
time at his disposal. Among the various kinds of manual 
activity which are employed in the secular subjects, drawing 
should be given first consideration. But this, as some other types 
of creative work, should be pressed into service primarily as 
homework. More recent catechetical treatises and now especially 
the German "lesson unit catechism" (English translation 
published 1958) offer a variety of suggestions and hints for such 
work. In the case of the more mature children, group-work 
may be attempted at this point but only under certain circum- 
stances. It may be used, for example, when the class are 
told to gather impressions and observations which they have had, 
for example, in a church, a cemetery, or a chapel; when the 
children are required to answer questions about Bible stories 
that have already been dealt with in class; and especially when 
they are told to make preparations for a religious assembly in 

32 KBl, Vol. 71 (1946), p. 93. 



which suitable hymns from the diocesan hymnal should be 
suggested, or texts, poems, mottos chosen and prepared for 
delivery. 33 Another occasion for group-work is present when, 
for instance, a catechist in a one- or two-class school sets 
one 'group a task to keep it occupied while he instructs the 

The catechist will to some extent remain sceptical towards 
pupil discussion. If he should be assigned to a school in which 
certain periods are devoted to such discussions, he would 
for the sake of prudence not forbid them entirely. If he has 
not yet mastered the art of instructing, he should refrain from 
making use of the discussion method in lessons devoted to new 
subject matter, only employing it during the repetition of 
material taught on a previous occasion. 34 

In his use of the activity principle, the catechist should not 
forget that the most important activity which he may and must 
exact from the children is the practical application of what they 
have learned. Their conduct towards God and their neighbours, 
their prayer life, Mass attendance and the consistent and zealous 
practice of all the virtues, should thus be affected. 

The Principle of Personal Experience 

The principle of personal experience both in instruction and 
education was first formulated for secular pedagogy at the 
beginning of the present century. Its roots, however, extend far 
back into the past; they were evident in the repugnance of many 

33 Among others, weigh the suggestions offered in the ChPBl, Vol. 62 
(1949), pp. 193-196 (J. Klement), Vol. 64 (1951), pp. 269f. (Ernestine 
Blach), Vol. 65 (1952), pp. 54-57 (E. J. Korherr).— Heuser-Solzbacher, 
pp. 28 f. ; Sr. M. Irene, "Report on Prayer Book Experiment" in Catholic 
Educator, Vol. 24 (1953/54), pp. 331-334; Sr. N. Wilfrid, "Nursery 
Rhymes and Religion "in Catholic Educator, Vol. 19 (1948/49), pp. 213-215. 

34 During the Osterreichische Tagung fur Religionsunterricht und religiose 
Erziehung in Vienna 1951 some lay catechists who were experienced in 



for tlic dry intellcctualism which found its most radical embodi- 
ment in the Romantic movement and later in the philosophy 
of vitalism. The German " youth movement" made it possible 
for the principle of personal experience to penetrate into 
the sphere of education. 

It is claimed that not only the intellect but also the sum total 
of the soul's faculties: senses, imagination, heart, feeling, will, 
joy, enthusiasm, all sentiments of the soul, should be fostered 
and developed. By reason of its rejection of intellectualism, the 
principle of personal experience agrees with the activity prin- 
ciple. Whereas the active school is, however, bent on all-per- 
vading activity and is directed outwardly, the principle of 
personal experience denotes the faculty of passive reception, 
involving all the powers of the soul; it is thus directed toward 
the interior life. 

Without doubt it can be useful for catechetics : while adher- 
ing to the basic rational structure of catechesis it may receive 
stimuli from that source which will help it to overcome an 
exaggerated intellcctualism. As we have often stressed in the 
above, the aim of catechesis is not achieved if the catechetical 
material is only taught and learned. What matters is that faith 

this particular form of instruction, gave two model lessons which were 
based substantially on pupil discussion. On another occasion, however, 
doubts were expressed as to the value of the discussion (panel and other- 
wise) for catechesis. Cf. the report in Katechetische Besinnung (Vienna, 
1951), pp. 118 f., in which J. Klement adopts a position in regard to it; 
consult the same author, "Fur und wider das Schulergesprach" in ChPBl, 
Vol. 62 (1949), pp. 65-67. He pointed out the danger of its degenerating 
into senseless prattling carried on by the more uninhibited individuals in 
the class, of its wasting time, of its lessening reverence for sacred things. — 
Consult the experiences of a Viennese school inspector, ChPBl, Vol. 64 
(1951), p. 41, who believes that this type of discussion should be used 
only for the purpose of repetition; cf. G.J. Schnepp, "Panel Discussion 
in the Classroom" in The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 46 (1948), pp. 



and the kingdom of God are grasped by the whole soul as the 
supreme realities and as ultimate values ; as the pearl of great 
price for which the finder is prepared to sacrifice everything; 
as the holy law according to which man must fashion his life. 
True, we can conceive of "religious instruction" which dis- 
regards these objectives and imparts only doctrines and facts 
and strives to make them understood. Even unbelieving parents 
would surely desire such an instruction for their children. For 
it is a part of general culture, if not good breeding, that the 
children would know something of Paradise and the Flood 
and of incidents in the life of Christ, if for no other reason 
than that our language and the history of art often refers to 
them. But, as catechists, we have not been called to impart 
such a "religious instruction". 

More than anything else, religion or better still Christian 
doctrine should thrill men and should touch them to their very 
core. But this is exactly what personal experience can do. We 
must remember, however, that one personal experience differs 
from another. A personal religious experience, in the wide 
sense, of being an interior event which can affect a person 
profoundly, for example, the conversion of St. Paul or St. Au- 
gustine, an event which continues to make its repercussions felt 
for life, such a personal experience is not the stuff of everyday 
life, and we could never hope to provoke one for ourselves 
or for someone else. Such an experience is reserved for the 
extraordinary workings of divine grace. We can, however, and 
we should, stress and make fertile the values that are contained 
in the texts of revelation. We can and should arouse the capa- 
cities for faith, hope and charity slumbering in the hearts of 
children and make them fruitful for life and for Christian living. 
This means that in the course of our ordinary catechesis an 
elevated and dignified mood should prevail, so that not only 
the intellect but also our feelings, our hearts, should be touched. 



This cannot be done simply by developing the single points of 
doctrine in accordance with the formal steps beginning with 
the visual facts, and ending with their application to life; for 
these steps are of the logical order and, as a result, lack effec- 
tiveness. 35 Nor can it be done simply by arousing the active 
powers of the children, as the "activity principle" pre- 
scribes. 36 It is much more decisive to enthrall the hearts of 
the children by the sublime and holy realities which we are 
commissioned to teach, to fill them with wonderment at the 
greatness and goodness of God, to arouse their holy joy in the 
beauty of a Christian life, in short, to make the children feel that 
this religion period is concerned with things of profound im- 
portance. This is what personal religious experience means and 
how it should be understood. 

We must of course reject a religion that is purely sentimental 
but it would be an error equally grave to foster a religion 
entirely devoid of all feeling. Even if we continually stress the 
fact that in charity, in contrition, and in prayer, it is not feeling 
that matters, we should not want to say that true love, genuine 
contrition, and correct prayer are entirely without feeling. 
What we mean is that the primary clement is thought and the 
resolution of the will. The natural radiations of this hard core 
will always affect the feelings, if no special obstacles are placed 
in their way. Conversely a certain compelling power is im- 
manent and peculiar to feeling. This power not only lightens 
the task of making a resolution, but also eases the burden 
of acquiring knowledge, especially for children whose reasoning 

35 Cf. Pfliegler, Vol. Ill, pp. 215-249 and especially pp. 217f. 

36 In any case the activity principle may be employed to help engender 
a personal religious experience, not indeed merely by prescribing a num- 
ber of activities or by encouraging a zealous employment of the question- 
ing technique, but by utilizing the experiences which the children 
may already have acquired; cf. Pfliegler, Vol. Ill, pp. 297 ff. 



is never logical. That is why the harmony of feeling is educa- 
tionally of great importance. 

It is entirely in conformity with the nature of religious truth 
that it stirs our sentiments. The feeling of being a creature 
corresponds to the knowledge of our complete dependence 
on the Creator. A feeling of gratitude is awakened when wc 
realize how richly we have been endowed by God both with 
nature and grace. The feeling of a fear of God is fanned when 
we perceive the holiness of His law and our own insignificance 
and frailty. The feeling of proud admiration is stirred when we 
become aware of the personality of our Saviour, of His mighty 
achievements and of His compelling goodness. Even feelings 
which are aroused by a consideration of the natural order can 
and should be linked with subjects of the religious and moral 
order. The love of a child for his parents may well serve as a 
preparation for the love of God; the joy in the clouds sailing 
majestically across the sky, in the pure beauty of spring blossom, 
the delight in all that is beautiful and noble, can all be utilized to 
further the education of the children in chastity. 

The question is, what can we as catechists do in this direction? 
It should go without saying that we should avoid everything 
that smacks of artificiality and affectation. The emotional 
response, the atmosphere of fervour, should arise spontaneously 
as a result of the conception and presentation of the subject 
matter. The catechist must create within himself the proper 
conception and presentation, and adopt the right religious 
attitude. True, this cannot be done in a moment; it is a matter 
for his entire personality, which should in a sense be awe-inspired 
by the magnitude of divine revelation. This awe can be acquired 
only by a genuine and intensive life of prayer. In such a way the 
catechist will absorb in prayer and reverence, the "good news" 
of God, transmitting it to the children with holy joy. In this 
sense every catechesis should be "truly a religious service for 



children". 37 The catechist need not be afraid during the religion 
period of permitting his own personal feelings to find expression 
in the tone of his voice, in the choice of his words, in the expres- 
sion of his face and in his gestures, just as a mother does when she 
admonishes or warns her children, or when she has something 
worthwhile to tell them. 38 A reverent atmosphere is thus 
almost bound to be created. In order that this atmosphere 
may unfold, it is necessary that certain conditions be fulfilled. 

First of all, externals are of importance. In this respect cate- 
chesis in school, and in a secular environment, labours under a 
disadvantage that was absent from the catechesis formerly 
given in church. 39 It has been recommended, not without 
reason, that occasionally when an important catechesis is to 
be given, for example, on the sacrifice of the Mass, that it be 
given in a church or a chapel. Under certain circumstances a 
catechesis on death and the last things could be given in the 
cemetery or in a mortuary chapel. But a zealous catechist will 
know how to transform his classroom into a holy place. 

Still more important is that the catechist removes entirely or 
lessens as much as possible whatever disturbs or disrupts the 
catechesis. Good discipline is indispensable. It is likewise impor- 
tant that a happy, joyful atmosphere prevails in the classroom 
and that the children feel at ease in the religious instruction 

37 Gatterer, p. 351. 

38 The catecheses of Augustin Gruber can serve as a model of language 
charged with feeling. See above, p. 30. 

39 Without doubt the church with its imposing nave and its religious 
impressiveness is not the ideal solution. In France where catechesis has no 
access to the official State school the ecclesiastical authorities are trying 
to create a salle de catechisme, a room which would combine the advan- 
tages of the church and the classroom. Something similar is the aim of 
those who promote the pastoral, organized religious instruction. The 
official Catholic school system in the U.S.A. has no difficulties on this 
score; in the case of the year round school and vacation schools for 
children, Fishers and Helpers provide suitable quarters in most instances. 



period. In a detailed discussion of the question St. Augustine 
stressed the importance of hilaritas for catechesis. 40 Again it is 
advisable that the catechist should relate his instruction to 
everything that fills the lives of the children and to whatever 
constitutes the content of their interests at home and in school, 
so that they can feel that their own personal problems arc being 
discussed, and thus become more receptive to the light of 
doctrine. To this category belongs especially the frequent 
references to one's native land with its customs, its tradition, 
its shrines and Christian traditions. The homeland is the epitome 
of what is cherished and loved by the children. Thus the cate- 
chist can combine with advantage the feelings which the 
children entertain for their own country with the subject 
matter of the catechesis. 

When we have said all this, we have sketched only general 
assumptions and viewpoints. Can we offer any more detailed 
suggestions by which the catechesis can incorporate more 
personal experiences and ensure a reverent atmosphere. 
We must thus ask ourselves how we can bring these new 
principles into accord with the already well-established method, 
or more precisely, with the laws of the formal steps. 

At first glance it would seem that a certain incompatibility 
exists between the two insofar as in the formal steps a certain 
definite, but essential, logic prevails: the preparation for the 
abstract by the concrete and then the return again to the con- 
crete. Feeling and sentiment whose cultivation is demanded by 
personal experience appear to be in complete opposition to the 
logical steps. In fact, the German teacher Heinrich Kautz who 
advocates emphasis on personal experience is an opponent of 
the doctrine of the formal steps. 41 He retained only two 

40 Augustinus, De catech. rudibus, c. 10-14; J. P. Christopher, op. cit., 
pp. 34-51. 

41 Kautz, Neubau des katholischen Religionsunterrichtcs , 3 vols. (Kevelaer: 



main steps, the step of preparation for a personal experience, 
and that of performing the action. On a closer examination, how- 
ever, we can detect in his theory the first and third of the tradi- 
tional formal steps, presentation and application, in a new form. 
The step of explanation, namely the work necessary to 
impart an understanding of die principle, is omitted by Kautz. 
And concerning this point the methodology developed by him 
at that time is unacceptable. For as long as catcchcsis implies 
the handing on of Christian doctrine, it cannot do without 
teaching, hence without communicating clear notions. We may 
add that even the richest personal experience will eventually 
disappear, insofar as it consists of feeling and of sentiment. That 
which lasts, which endures, is that solid core which has become 
a principle; this is the new insight into the truth of a doctrine 
which continues to exercise its influence as motive — however 
deep-rooted the insight might first have become as a result of 
feeling. 42 The exclusion of the step of explanation is therefore 
unjustifiable. But it is correct to restate more precisely the 

Butzon u. Bercker, 1923/26). Translators' note: On the basis of correspond- 
ence carried on between Fr. J. A. Jungmann and Fr. H. Kautz, the latter 
today holds that a combination of the pedagogy of personal experience 
and of a triad of formal steps is not only possible but also necessary, 
because of the materials (cinema, television, illustrated newspapers, etc.) 
which flood the child with experiences that are personal but come to 
him from without. 

42 There is as we know a basic idea in the pedagogy of the will that 
motives are responsible for decisions; there is also a basic demand that 
they be associated with sentiments and with joyous experiences; they 
should, however, also contain a solid core of idealistic elements. J. Lind- 
worsky (A. Steiner and E. A. Fitzpatrick, trans.), The Training of the Will 
(Milwaukee: Bruce, 1929); A. Willwoll, Denken und Erlebnis : Zur Metho- 
dik des Religion sunterrichtes {Refer ate der 4. schweiz. Seelsorgctagung [Lucerne, 
1945]), pp. 60-74; Sisters of Notre Dame, Aids to Will Training in Chris- 
tian Education (New York: F. Pustet, 1943), csp. pp. 41-75 ; cf. also Pflieg- 
ler, Vol. II, pp. 201 f.; Vol. Ill, pp. 225 f.; J. T. McMahon, Building 
Character From Within (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1940). 



steps of presentation and of application in the light of these new 

If the step of presentation should serve to create a visual 
basis for knowledge, this need not necessarily mean that it 
should be restricted only to knowledge. Actually it can and 
should accomplish much more. An event, an example, a picture 
w T hich we offer the children as a visual starting point of our 
catechesis should capture their feelings for what is good, for the 
kingdom of God, for the person of our Lord, as far as it is 
possible. And if we should here succeed in increasing the im- 
pression to the point of a personal experience, so much the 
better. But what is required to make a personal experience 
possible? 43 

An experience is achieved when an important object, a 
reality, in our case a religious reality, is not only grasped by 
the mind and by all the powers of the soul, but when the very 
senses themselves are affected, and feelings of endeavour result. 
If possible all these things should take place simultaneously. The 
soul is thrilled by an object, it is captured by an ideal, which 
is suddenly and vividly presented to it. This has the effect of 
prompting questions to arise in the heart, of compelling the soul 
to seek help, instruction and direction. Thus the way is paved 
for further guidance by which the notions are deepened and 
the possibilities of some kind of activity are pointed out. 
If such a presentation has succeeded, the explanation will 
become of interest to the children and they will w T ant to see its 

Such an awakening of all the powers of the soul can be realized, 
however, only in those instances in which the children are 
brought into contact with what is alive ; in this case, if they are 
confronted with the practice of religion. The splendour of 

43 Pfliegler, Vol. II, pp. 58-63; Vol. Ill, pp. 215-249. 


a Solemn Mass, the perfection of a liturgical service, can do 
this. A meeting with a holy person would also be of this kind. 
In a deeply religious person a sudden shock, not necessarily 
religious, could become a personal religious experience. But we 
are as a rule not able to evoke that in catechesis. As a substitute 
for it, however, the catechist may find that a vivid description 
of such happenings may suffice. In such a substitute we are 
faced with what we originally called the step of presentation; 
but its task becomes more intensive and extensive. It is clear 
that we should never choose just any common illustration for 
the beginning of the catechesis but one that makes the im- 
pression of something of extreme value, for example, a heroic 
figure, a famous religious apparition. And we must not treat 
the persons whom we have chosen only from the outside but 
let them become alive in their real selves. This can be done by 
giving a psychological dimension to their acts, so that the 
children can really experience their hopes and their fears, their 
joys and their sorrows, their great resolutions and their miser- 
able failures. Holy Scripture, the history of the missions, the 
lives of the saints, contain numerous examples of this kind. The 
life of our Lord is filled with scenes which are most appropriate 
for this kind of treatment. Rightly used, religious, art, especially 
biblical pictures, can be a great help in enriching and in enhanc- 
ing the presentation. This realization has caused leading cate- 
chists no longer to refer to the step of presentation but rather 
to the step of personal experience. 44 As a sample of such a 
presentation, we offer the introduction of a catechesis written 
by Edmund Jehle on "a good intention": 45 

"In the preparation, the catechist should point out that many people, 
even though they work and do much good, do not possess the proper 

44 For example, Jak. Bernbeck, Katechesen fur die Oberstufe, 3 vols, 
(Munich, 1941). 

45 E. Jehle, Katechesen fur die Oberstufe, Vol. II (Freiburg, 1928), p. 185. 



intention. This we know • from Scripture in the case of the Pharisee, 
whom our Lord attacked so vigorously. 

In the presentation, there should follow the story of the widow's 
mite. 'It was Tuesday of Holy Week and Jesus had just finished pro- 
nouncing his eight "woes " against the Pharisees. He had called them hypo- 
crites, and whited sepulchres. He then went and stood near the collection 
box. Different people came and dropped money into it. A rich Pharisee 
appeared on the scene. Showily, he took a goldpiece from his purse, 
held it between his fingers in such a way that everyone could see it and 
walked with a swaggering gait to the collection-box (show how this 
was done). All the people watched him and all heard the clink as his 
piece disappeared into the mouth of the box. All eyes turned to Jesus, 
as though wanting to ask him: Isn't he a good and pious man? Does he 
not give a lot to the Temple? Jesus kept silent. Then an old lady entered. 
She limped painfully and was dressed in threadbare and patched clothes. 
She took a little piece of cloth out of her purse and slowly undid it. 
Two little copper pieces were nestled there. The Pharisees looked at her, 
turned up their noses and thought : the old hag should keep her coppers. 
Nothing can be done for the Temple with such a gift. Shamefacedly she 
put her gift quietly into the box. It represented her entire fortune. 
Again the people looked to Jesus and awaited an answer from Him. This 
time He did not keep silent, but said: "This poor widow has put more 
into the box than all the others. They gave of their plenty. She, however, 
gave of her poverty, and all that she possessed." ' 

In the step of factual explanation nothing need be changed. 

In the transition from the explanation to the application the 

catechist should sometimes summarize briefly the results of his 

work, incorporate the individual points of the doctrine into the 

larger synthesis, and attempt to make the children conscious of 

the importance of these truths for their own lives. The auxiliary 

step of recapitulation will then serve to deepen the impressions 

already made. This should nor be a mere intellectual deepening. 

A profound realization will always affect the whole soul, and 

this can in many instances be heightened in such a way as to 

produce an emotional reaction. A further example may also 

produce the desired effect. 46 If at this point a prayer or a song, is 

46 Cf . E. Jehle, Katechesen fur die Oberstufe, 3 vols. (Freiburg, 1926 to 
1930), in which regularly at the end of the catechesis under the title "For 
further reading" he refers the reader to an example in the appendix of 
the book. 



interpolated, this will help to root the doctrine to be learned 
even more firmly in the hearts and sentiments of the children. 
But such a deepening process can be deferred to a subsequent 
period in which the subject matter may again be gone through 
by way of a repetition. 

The step of application retains its place, but so many 
favourable preliminary conditions have been achieved that its 
task is made easier. If the catechist has succeeded in evoking 
something like a personal experience in the children he may 
expect that they will look forward to being told what they can 
do to make it their own. 

We must mention yet another occasion which permits Chris- 
tian doctrine to become a personal experience within the frame- 
work of the school : the religious assembly. 

The ancient Christian catechumenate used the religious assem- 
bly. 47 The Jesuit schools of the sixteenth and seventeenth 
century made very copious use of it. Among the various groups 
of the German Youth Movement the religious assembly in a 
self-planned setting played a great role. In present day secular 
instruction such assemblies are employed in a variety of ways — 
for a school celebration, for example, on Memorial Day. It might 
also be used occasionally instead of the religious instruction 
period. 48 For the smaller children such an assembly may serve 
to prepare for a topic to be treated in the catechesis itself or in to 
connection with a liturgical season. For the older children it 
can take the place of the recapitulation as a review or exploration 
of matter that has already been treated. Traces of God in creation, 
incidents and mysteries in the childhood of Christ, the mysteries 

47 Cf. above, pp. 6-7. 

48 B. Kammler, Feierstundcn im Religionsuntcrricht (Munich, 1930) 
with a number of topics for these assemblies, graded according to the 
school year, as well as a variety of projects developed for the benefit of 
the teacher. 



of the Rosary, Christ the King, the sacrament of Baptism, the 
works of mercy (joined perhaps to the legend of St. Martin) 
are examples of suitable topics. Such a religious assembly is 
simply a catechesis that is embellished with artistic devices, with 
recitations, songs, pictures, dramatic interludes, a period in 
which learning is relegated entirely to the background and in 
which the lesson that has been learned is made to appear in a 
new light. 

The religious assembly should in essence be produced by the 
children themselves. Even in the case of the more mature child- 
ren, it should be kept as simple as possible. The catechist should 
draw up the plans, assign the parts, establish the links, and at the 
psychological moment perhaps, personally develop one or the 
other thoughts or compose a prayer. The preparatory work 
done by the children is of decisive importance for such a 
religious hour. The children must practise and learn their roles 
by heart and perhaps gather material that may be required 
(texts from the school Bible, from the catechism, or other 

If the treatment of the Old Testament has been concluded 
before Christmas, a Christmas assembly might be organized in 
the following way. 

A few words of introduction by the catechist. 

1. Description by the children of the types of our Lord. 
Display (or project) a picture illustrating this theme. 
Sing a hymn such as Rorate, caeli, desuper. 

2. Recital of the messianic prophecies, one by each child. 
Display a portrait of one of the prophets. 

Sing an appropriate hymn. 

3. The reading, by the children, of the gospel texts on the annunciation 
and the birth of Christ. 

Display a picture of the nativity. 
Sing a Christmas carol. 

Here is a suggestion for Advent, conceived in a stricter fashion. 

Introductory hymn. 

A dramatic-reading in three scenes depicting the life of John the Bap- 



tist. The material to be drawn from Luke 3:1-20. Scene I: his appear- 
ance. Scene II: his preaching of penance. Scene III: his testimony. After 
each reading a team of speakers repeat the plea: "Make ready the way 
of the Lord!" 
Concluding hymn. 49 

Adaptation of the Method to the Subject Matter 

We have attempted to clarify the basic laws of catechetical 
method by dealing with one of its more difficult cases, the cate- 
chism-catechesis. A few suggestions will suffice here for their 
applications to other kinds of subject matter, which are easier to 
treat. It is chiefly a question of subject matter which in contrast 
to the dogmatic statements of the catechism has a more visual 
character, and as a consequence, does not need to be presented 
by means of concrete examples. Some detailed hints may be 

Biblical catechesis is the opposite of catechesis on the catechism 
because it employs a school Bible or a Bible History. 50 In any 
case the historical episodes, narratives of Holy Scripture, consti- 
tute the chief subject. The narrative presentation is, moreover, 
much more acceptable to the children. We must, however, 
make a distinction in regard to the method of treatment: 
between biblical texts which are studied for their own sake and 
those which serve rather as an illustration for matter that has 
been developed elsewhere. Among those portions which are 
treated solely for their own sake we may list the following 
dealing with the events of redemptive history. An account of 
paradise, the fall of our first parents, the call of the patriarchs 

49 Berta Koch, " Feierstunden zur Advents- und Weihnachtszeit" in 
KBl, Vol. 73 (1948), pp. 325-327. 

50 For further details consult Mayer, pp. 113-121. — See also A. Elchin- 
ger, "Structure des lecons d'Histoire Sainte" in Verite et Vic, Vol. 17, no. 
146; in addition to much scepticism of all methods which place strictures 
on the catechist, cf. Heuser-Solzbacher, pp. 20-51. 



and of the Chosen People, the legislation on Mount Sinai, the 
birth of Christ and more or less all those passages which deal 
with the life, passion and glorification of Jesus. 51 With regard 
to these the steps of presentation and of explanation coincide, 
the happening itself is what the children should remember. 
Explanations must, nevertheless, still be given in order to make 
the happenings understandable, for these are set in a past age 
and a long-forgotten culture. Even the language itself often 
forms an obstacle because of its traditional form. Generally 
the explanation will come at the beginning, and should be 
brief; for example, when the catechist starts to recount the story 
of the curing of the man born lame (Matt. 9), he should first 
describe the plan of a typical Jewish house. He must weave other 
details into his account as he progresses. Moreover, to enable 
the children to participate in the narrative more easily, an 
account of the spiritual stages through which the principal 
characters had to pass will vivify and enrich the text. 52 By 
such illustrations we do not falsify the account, but only make 
its content more comprehensible for the children. It goes with- 
out saying that the catechist may not alter the text or attempt 
what the Protestant writer, Heinrich Scarrelmann, did, namely, 
modernize it. 53 In any case the catechist himself can narrate 

51 See above, pp. 103 f., 129. 

52 We can satisfy the hunger for knowledge which pupils in the upper 
grades possess by giving them supplementary details which are both geo- 
graphical and historical (perhaps even cultural). On this point see M. A. 
Gramlich, Gehet hin und lehret (Freiburg: Herder, 1949), p. 21. 

53 There were, for example, two boys, Jacob and Esau. Both went to 
school. Esau was a grade ahead of his brother and he always got better 
report cards and was confirmed a year before him, etc. The whole story 
is given in the KBl, Vol. 45 (1919), pp. 356 f. Other examples of the same 
kind may be found in Gatterer, pp. 508 f. — The Bishops at the Fulda con- 
ference (1917) cautioned against the use of such a procedure in a pronounce- 
ment entitled: Kirchliche Grundsatze iiber die Behandlung der Biblischen 
Geschichte im Religionsunterricht : "... 3. The historical truth must remain 



the event. He should do this with as much warmth and love as 
he possibly can. It is precisely at this point that he might attempt 
to develop it into a personal experience. He will find that in 
many cases a wall-picture or a blackboard sketch is invalu- 
able. 54 

After the catechist has delivered his presentation, the children 
should repeat the story, and then they should read it from the 
textbook either immediately or at the end of the catcchesis. 
Everything that follows this in the catechesis, may be con- 
sidered as the step of application. Frequently it may be neces- 
sary to emphasize the dogmatic content of the biblical event, 
the evolution in the history of salvation. In general, however, 
the catechist should be concerned only with an interpretation 
and evaluation. That is to say, he should pause to meditate on 
one or the other points of the sacred event or should attempt to 
link it to related matter, to draw conclusions for prayer and life. 
In treating, for example, the birth of Christ, the catechist will 
stress the following thought: the divine Child as our brother. 
He should then take up a prayer or a hymn praising or thanking 
the Child, or consider the feast of Christmas, the Gloria in excelsis, 
the veneration of the Mother of God or other matters of the 
same kind. 

In other instances, the Bible story should serve more as a 
framework for an idea than as an independent subject in itself. 

untouched.The modernization of Bible History is as a consequence entirely 
inadmissible; the catechist may not remove it from its context of the bibli- 
cal scene of the biblical era, of morals and of customs of the East. He 
may, though, make use of modern conditions for the purposes of com- 
parison and of concreteness, so that the children will be enabled to under- 
stand more easily what is actually historical. For didactical reasons this 
should take place during a discussion, rather than in the preliminary 
narration of the historical event. " The full text is reproduced by Gottler, 
Religions- and Moralpadagogik (2nd ed.), pp. 201-203. 

54 For further information on this score, see below, pp. 226 f . 



In the parables of the prodigal son we should learn to treasure 
the paternal goodness and mercy of God towards penitent 
sinners. Here the catechist should in fact offer a special explana- 
tion. In general it is true of parables — and similarly of Old 
Testament prototypes — that the presentation should arouse a 
certain tension in the children and should evoke some question 
about the deeper meaning to be found in them. The expla- 
nation will then provide a solution, which may be offered 
in a blackboard sketch which deals with the parable step by 
step. 55 

Many incidents in Bible History, especially those of the Old 
Testament, are important for catechesis chiefly because of the 
moral doctrine which they contain. Thus, for example, the 
story of the Egyptian Joseph should not be developed in all 
its broad implications simply as a story, but should be used as 
an example of the virtues and vices in the conduct of the 
brothers. In this story especially, the catechist should try to give 
the children some idea of the destructive effect of envy, or, on 
another occasion, of the providence of God, which rules over 
our life. From these he should deduce practical applications. In 
this way the biblical catechesis will approximate the catechism- 
catechesis both in arrangement and construction. 

In liturgical topics, insofar as they are treated in special 
catecheses and are not used only incidentally with other 
subjects, the schema of the formal steps should have its own 
form. In the liturgy we deal for the most part with procedures 
and institutions which are concrete and visual. In some fashion 
or another they are already known to the children (the cere- 
monies, for example) or can be shown to them in a picture or 
be made understandable to them by means of a description 

55 J. Missliwetz, "Der Bibelunterricht inder Hauptschule " in ChPBl, 
Vol. 66 (1953), pp. 161-165.— On the treatment of doctrinal texts, see 
above, p. 188. 



(for example, the procedure in the case of a sick call). The 
catechist must then draw the necessary conclusions and evaluate 
the more profound content. A liturgical text, a sacred song, a 
hymn can be taken through simply by means of the "text- 
explanatory" method, but in such a way that, as far as possible, 
the perceptual element is stressed and placed at the beginning. 56 

56 Cf. p. 188. 




Up to the present we have studied only the most general laws 
of method, especially such as arc drawn from the psychology 
of the child and find application in the step procedure of 
catechesis. A closer examination of the catechetical task will 
pose further problems and considerations to which we must 
now apply ourselves. We shall do this by taking the formal 
steps one by one, and in that connection deal with all the 
relevant questions. Among the demands which must be ful- 
filled in the course of the presentation are: (1) die correct use 
of different visual aids, and especially (2) of correct catechetical 
language. The explanation, which should result normally in an 
understanding of what is being presented, must be of a kind that 
is adapted to the mental capacity of the children, and yet does 
not falsify the deposit of faith (3), it should not aim merely at 
sober knowledge but at assent by faith (4) and should tend to 
form consciences and to build up moral dispositions (5). Then 
we pass on to practical application, which achieves its noblest 
expression in education to prayer and prayer itself (6) ; which 
assumes a tangible form in home work (7) of which memoriza- 
tion is not the least part (8) and which is continued in practical 
work (9). 

1. Visual aids 
If concreteness is one of the basic demands for children's 
catechesis, and if the first formal step is designed to attain it, 
the catechist will readily avail himself of aids that enable the 
child not only to grasp an object with the imagination, but also 



to see it with the bodily eye. That many, indeed most topics 
in Christian doctrine, permit visual examination is due to the 
fact that the Word has become flesh and dwelt amongst us, 
moreover, that Christ founded a visible Church, which carries 
on the work of redemption with visible means. 

Of such important topics of catechesis as the Church, her life 
and mission, her sacraments and her divine services, the children 
may indeed learn by direct observation. In the classroom the 
catechist is for them a visible embodiment of the Church's 
teaching office. This view is enlarged when they see the priest 
in the pulpit, or at the altar, or when on Sundays the children 
form a part of the parish which gathers around him for prayer 
and for sacrifice. This community is for them a genuine minia- 
ture of the Church on earth. And the Church in turn truly 
impinges on their consciousness, if, for example, the Bishop 
visits the parish from time to time. 

This is the place for liturgical instructions of which we will 
speak later on. The catechist should afford the children an 
opportunity of being present at a Baptism. Under favourable 
circumstances, for example, in the country, he may permit 
them to accompany him on a sick call, or when the class is to 
study Extreme Unction, he may allow them to set up a table for 
a sick room on which all the necessary articles are arranged. 1 
Above all, he should take them into church and there explain 
to them the details of its furnishings and its utensils : the bap- 
tismal font with its symbolical representations, the pulpit, the 
altar (or altars), enriched with their statues, especially the altar 
stone with its cloth coverings (linens), the care which is taken 
of the tabernacle (keys, veils, etc.). He should also take them to 
the sacristy where they can look at the vestments, the liturgical 

1 How a lay catechist did this in the presence of children, see ChPBl. 
Vol. 64 (1951), pp. 41 £. ; cf. also M. L. and J. Defossa, "Ceremony of 
Preparation for Baptism" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 9 (1954), pp. 9-16. 



books, the sacred vessels. He will take care that reverence for 
these sacred objects is not only preserved, but also increased by 
telling them, for example, that as the golden chalice was designed 
with such great artistry and completed with even greater love 
because its maker knew that it was destined to hold the Precious 
Blood so, in like fashion, our hearts should be prepared to 
receive Holy Communion. Certain vestments must be kissed 
by the priest, before he puts them on for Mass; he can repeat 
this when he shows them to children. He may even permit 
one or the other of the children to do the same. Such a visit to 
the church should end with a prayer or with a short service. 
The Church and her activities are the foundation for the 
history of redemption. This history can be presented to the 
children in pictures. We have already spoken of the illustrations 
in the Bible Histories. 2 Pictures can be useful also for catccheses 
on the catechism. Those of special value are of a large size, viz., 
catechetical wall pictures, which can be fastened to the black- 
board or elsewhere and are visible to the entire class. 3 It should 
be evident that such pictures should be the work of true artists, 
especially when they are intended to be more than a mere 
delineation of an historical event, that is to say, when they 

2 See above, p. Ill, 113. 

3 A. Heilmann, Bibel-Bilder , Gedanken zur religionspddagogischen 
Wertung biblischer Kunst (Kempten: Kosel undPustet, 1911). In addition to 
a discussion of principles, this book presents a penetrating study of 
various series of pictures for catechetical use, which were available at 
the time. — J. Krones, Die neuzeitlichen Anschauungsmittel und ihr didak- 
tischer Wert fur den Religionsunterricht (2nd ed.; Rottenburg: Badersche 
Buchhandlung, 1932). — For a discussion of the other kind of audio- 
visual aids for biblical uses within the framework of Bible history, 
consult: The Catholic School Journal (Milwaukee: Bruce) which frequently 
during the year discusses the various audio-visual aids and their practicality 
for catechetical purposes; and also The Catholic Educator (New York: 
J. F. Wagner) which in every issue carries a special section devoted to 
audio-visual aids. 



purport to interpret the supernatural significance of an event or 
to express spiritual meanings in a form that the senses can per- 
ceive. On the other hand the conditions necessitated by cate- 
chetical practice should also be taken into consideration; the 
picture should help the children to understand and to appreciate 
the circumstances in which the event portrayed takes place. 
This can be done by making its composition simple, by paying 
strict attention to each and every figure and detail. The picture 
should, moreover, express some noble sentiment, should create 
some religious impression. In the pictures of holy men and 
women their otherworldiness should at least be indicated by 
the nobleness of their bearing and by the sublimity of their 
attitudes. 4 Of course, this places some restriction upon the 
artist, but no more than he must expect in any commission. 
On the other hand, we should point out that only the content 
of the picture is important for the children of the lower grades, 
that only after the age often the form too will be noticed; only 
for the first time in adolescence will its artistry be fully appre- 
ciated. 5 Extremely forceful pictures which succeeded in leaving 
an indelible imprint on their souls in childhood will continue to 

4 It may be permitted us here to express our misgivings about whether 
pictures of God in human form, — a custom which was introduced in 
the golden period of the Middle Ages, — represent a salutary development. 
Up until that time artists (and teachers) had been content to depict God's 
intervention in the affairs of men by means of a hand stretching out from 
behind a cloud. Only after the faithful began to interchange the notions 
of God and Christ more and more (e. g., constantly recurring phrases 
such as "the corpse of God", "God's feet"), did they begin to transfer the 
human appearance of Christ to the invisible God. By this, the Christian 
view of the world began to lose its clarity. The further historical spiritual 
processes which were implicit in this disfiguration, cf. J. A. Jungmann, 
"Die Abwehr des germanischen Arianismus und der Umbruch der 
religiosen Kultur im friihen Mittelalter " in ZkTh, Vol. 69 (1947), pp. 
36-99, especially p. 82. 

5 Eggersdorfer, pp. 390 f.; B. E. Mellinger, Children's Interests in 
Pictures (New York, N. Y. : Teachers College, Columbia University, 



exert a profound influence for their entire lives. "And when 
all words and admonitions of the catechist have long since been 
scattered by the whirlwind of youthful fickleness or have been 
buried under the cares of life, the memory of such a picture 
continues to live on in the soul." 6 It is inevitable that a certain 
tension between the demands of the catechist and the personal 
experience of the artist 7 working for him, will be created, 
and that only in exceptional cases will it ever be completely 
resolved. 8 

As illustrations of a purely didactic nature we must mention: 
wall maps and the pictures (sketches) of liturgical ceremonies. 
In order that the maps of the holy land may be effective from a 
catechetical standpoint it is important that historical and biblical 

1932); J. G. Morrison, Children's Preferences for Pictures (Chicago: Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press, 1935). 

6 Heilmann, op. cit. } p. 26. 

7 This tension is analyzed in an article written by the artist who 
drew the illustrations for the new German catechism A. Burkart, "Ge- 
danken zur Katechismusillustration " in KBl, Vol. 74 (1949), pp. 346-352. 

8 In the works of Heilmann and Krones we can find a critical ap- 
preciation, with an analytical criticism, of catechetical pictures available 
during the first quarter of this century. Among these there are the 100 
biblical pictures of G. Fugel, a new edition of which was published in 
1948 (Munich: Isaria); there are also 60 illustrations of Ph. Schumacher 
(Dlisseldorf: Patmos-Verlag). There is a collection of the pictures of 
Mate Mink-Born, consisting of 150 biblical scenes which has reappeared 
in a new edition. Concerning these and three other collections of biblical 
pictures which appeared outside of Germany consult A. de Marneffe, 
"Bible History Pictures" mLumen Vitae, Vol. 7 (1952), pp. 91-109.— In 
the U.S.A. there are also collections: The Nell Series (four series 
of fourteen charts) (Geo. M. Nell, Paris-Co-Op.). Fr. Heeg borrows some 
seventeen of twenty-six of these for his Jesus and I booklet (or paste in 
project) ; and the Nelson Collection (103 for the Life of Christ and 43 for 
the early years of the Church) (Edinburgh, Scotland: Thomas Nel- 
son & Sons). — Twelve excellent catechetical wall pictures illustrating the 
fundamental truths of Christianity (knowledge of God, revelation, 
Christ, the Church) are offered us by J. Klement, Lehre in Bild und 
Gleichnis (Vienna: Herder, 1952). 



events in miniature form be inserted on them at those places 
where they actually happened. 9 This lends credibility to the 
historical nature of these events; they are thus seen to have 
taken place in our own world and among men such as we are. 

In State schools where it is frequently impossible for the 
catechist to bring children in a body to assist at Mass, at which 
they might all receive similar impressions, he will have to use 
pictures which depict liturgical ceremonies. The concrete 
character of this data is enhanced, if the wall picture which, let 
us say, represents the altar, is provided with movable figures 
which can be inserted into slots provided for them. 10 

In larger schools projectors are available for showing pictures 
and frequently there are also special projection rooms. The 

9 KBl, Vol. 74 (1949), p. 219, gives us a report on the Lebensweg Jesu 
of W. Harwerth; cf. maps of this kind may be procured from Geo. 
A. Pflaum, Dayton, Ohio; Dennoyer - Geppert, Story Map of the Life of 
Jesus (Chicago: Dennoyer - Geppert); I. S. Hunner, The Life of Christ 
(The John Day Co.). We cannot miss the opportunity of recommending 
the new L. H. Grollenberg (J. M. H. Reid and H. H. Rowley, trans.), 
Atlas of the Bible (New York and Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 
1956). The spelling of names, biblical place names is that of the Revised 
Standard Version of the Bible (Protestant). 

10 A great deal of this material can be procured from Belgium where 
it was produced at the instigation of G. Lefebvre: on this subject, see 
G. Lefebvre, "La formation liturgique a l'ccole primaire" mLumen Vitae, 
Vol. 1 (1946), pp. 73-90. L. P. Goldin, The Catholic Liturgy in Visual 
Lessons, 2 parts, produced by the Visual Text and Equipment Co., Los 
Angeles, and distributed by the Society for VisualEducation (SVE) (Chicago, 
Illinois); Catechetical Guild, The Perpetual Church Calendar (St. Paul, 
Minnesota). This calendar is made of metal with moveable circles and 
segments by means of which the liturgical year, its seasons, and its feasts 
are computed and made visual for the pupil. Sr. Mary Ambrose, The 
Mass (Chicago: Lawdale Publishing House); Catechetical Guild, 
Miniature Altar (St. Paul, Minn. : Catechetical Guild, 1935) ; D. B. Hansen 
and Sons, Steel Mass Chart (Chicago, Illinois); E. M. Lohmann, Mass 
Chart (St. Paul, Minn.); F. Pustet, The Child's Mass Chart (New York: 
F. Pustet). 



catechist may also be able to use projection equipment which 
can be carried into the classroom and, without any special 
preparation — apart from darkening the room — can be set up 
there for instant use. As types of projection material from 
which the catechist may choose, we can mention the folio wing : 
the photograph diapositive in the narrow sense, hence individu- 
al pictures or slides (glass or cardboard frames) ; the roll film 
(picturol) which contains a series of pictures on a film strip; 
these can often be purchased singly as slides. 11 In addition to 
these kinds of "still" pictures, the catechist can also rent, lease 
or purchase miniature movies, the 16 mm. or 35 mm. editions 
of feature films, with or without sound. 

Of these various possibilities the one most feasible for normal 

11 On this subject see : "Das Bildband praktisch angewendet " in ChPBl, 
Vol. 63 (1950), pp. 1 18-121, with an index of films which can be obtained 
from Austrian firms. On p. 212, he gives a report of the founding of 
an " Arbeitskreis fitr Katcchctisches Lichtbild und Unterrichtsfilm" in Vienna 
(I, Stephansplatz 3) which makes it possible for catechists in Austria to 
procure copies of pictures and of films (and also to borrow projection 
apparatus from the district officers) by means of the state " ' Hauptstelle 
fur Lichtbild und Unterrichtsfilin", and which is also empowered to receive 
any suggestions for the production of catechetical film series. — For 
Germany: consult E. Raudisch, "Neue Bilder und Filme fur den Reli- 
gionsunterricht " in KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), pp. 66-70; further material in 
KBl, Vol. 77 (1952), pp. 249f.; and also P. Wesemann, "Das Lichtbild 
im katechetischen Unterricht der Volksschule" in KBl, Vol. 76 (1951) pp. 
296-300, who wants the catechists to select single pictures from various 
films and to put them under glass and in this way form the basis of a 
collection of glass slides. — For the U.S.A it would be impossible to 
give an inventory of all the material that is available on this subject. 
At most it can be suggested that those interested use The Catholic Educator 
(which publishes news pertinent to CAVE), The Catholic School Journal 
and The Catholic Educational Review where articles on this and kindred 
subjects are unusual only when they are missing. For France and 
Belgium: A. de MarnefFe, "Appendice" to the book of P. Ranwez, 
Aspects contemporains . . ., pp. 319-325; A. Leonard, " Filmotheque du 
professeur de religion" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 9 (1954), pp. 139-144. 



catechesis is the "still", that is, glass or cardboard slides, be- 
cause a single picture contemplated silently will best serve 
to deepen the impression already made on the children. 
A number of pictures shown in rapid succession would 
only cause confusion. This would be justified only during 
a religious assembly or for the sake of extensive recapitula- 
tion. 12 But although a wide range of these filmstrips (picturols) 
made up of masterpieces of Christian art are available for adult 
lectures, a comparable catechetical series is still needed. 13 

In any case the catechist cannot expect salvation or indeed a 
lightening of his real task from these technical aids. Fully justified 
is a warning which was voiced some years ago that whereas 
formerly we had to reproach the older school for their intel- 
lectualism, today we must warn against visual aids and technical 
apparatus which are not one whit less dangerous. 

In what way should the picture be linked to catechetical 
method? The natural place is in presentation, which should 

12 U. H. Fleege, "Movies as an Influence in the Life of the Modern 
Adolescent" in The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 43 (1945), pp. 336- 
352; L. J. McCormick, ''Classroom Value of Films" in The Catholic 
Educational Review, Vol. 45 (1947), pp. 387-393; V. C. Arnspiger, "The 
Contribution of the Film in Today's Education" in NCE A Proceedings and 
Addresses, Vol 42/43 (1945/46), pp. 392-401; Sr. M. C. Kavanaugh, 
"Evaluation of Educational Film" in The Catholic Educator, Vol. 24 
(1953/54), pp. 342-347, and also The Catholic Educator, Vol. 23 (1952/1953), 
pp. 535-539. For Germany: A. Otteny, "Das Bildband als Anschauungs- 
mittel" in ChPBl, Vol. 62 (1949), pp. 147-149; F. Hubalek, "Unter- 
richtsfilm und Lichtbild" in ChPBl, Vol. 64 (1951), pp. 242f.— For a 
very optimistic evaluation of the use of films see H. Bohner, "Arten 
und Stufen des Lichtbildes in der Katechese" in KBl, Vol. 68 (1942), 
pp. 44-50. 

13 Perhaps the need for catechetical slides, and especially for 
catechetical films (for which liturgical subjects almost alone are 
suitable) is less than it is for films on other subjects. These other subjects 
have to do with the external world (geography, natural sciences 
and work projects) and of them there is an adequate supply already 
on hand. 



receive visual support. The picture should be shown, when the 
story, perhaps of a biblical event, has reached that precise 
point which the artist depicts. In this respect a printed wall 
picture that can quickly be unrolled or uncovered without 
difficulty has a great advantage over projection material which 
requires a darkened room. 

If the catechist should wish to use such a picture or if he should 
ask the children to open their religion-textbook and look at a 
picture in it, he will do so only when the oral presentation has 
been completed, and before he has asked them to repeat it. 
After a short time spent in examining the picture, the children, 
guided by the catechist, should enumerate the details which they 
found in the picture. In this way the picture will be more deeply 
imprinted on their memories and on their hearts. If he should 
show it only at the end of the catechesis, it would lose its value 
for catechesis proper and would serve only as an independent 
repetition or supplement. 

A very simple means of visualization, but one that can 
practically always be used in the religion period is drawing 
and especially the drawing on the blackboard by the catechist. 
By this we do not mean an artistic sketch, and still less a finished 
picture which might have to be drawn on the blackboard 
beforehand. While speaking to the children, he might sketch 
roughly with chalk, one of those simple objects which symbol- 
ize for us the mysteries of God: 14 a road, a door, a key, a flower, 
stars, running water, a burning light, a crown, etc. For the 
works of mercy he could sketch the symbols: bread, jug, etc. 
To represent God and the Divine Persons he may use the eye 
of God, to symbolize Jesus the crib and the cross, and tongues 
of fire. 

14 R. Guardini, Sacred Signs (St. Louis: Pio Decimo Presses, 1956); 
D. Winzen, Symbols of Christ (New York: P. J. Kenedy, 1955) Sr. M. A. 
Justina Knapp, Christian Symbols (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1938). 



The use of a "symbol shorthand" is less suited to the step of 
presentation, where the picture is much more appropriate. The 
shorthand method should rather be used for the purpose of 
explanation or for recapitulation. A few points suitably dis- 
tributed would enrich or complete the survey. It is wrong — or 
rather only a special prerogative of the artist — to think that 
entire scenes, complete with human figures, need to be drawn. 
That would be a waste of time and would also be superfluous^ To 
strengthen the impression that has been created by a story the 
catechist should have a variety of artistic wall pictures at his 
disposal. To make his instruction more lively and to anchor it 
more firmly in the memory, simple symbols suffice. Children 
are only too happy to use their own imagination. 15 

Akin to drawing is the graphic outline which will frequently 
be used in conjunction with the drawing itself. This consists in 
writing the key words of a catechesis in relevant order on the 
blackboard. The various elements of a concept (for example, 
the qualities of true contrition, the effects of the sacraments, 
the contrast between the Old and the New Testament) which 
are developed during the course of the catechesis and are to be 
found more precisely formulated in the catechism, can thus be 

15 Look up die suggestions, brief but excellent, and the models for 
sketches and drawings (with the note, "the first line") of J. Reder, 
"Zeichnen im Religionsunterricht " "for those who think that they 
cannot draw" in ChPBl, Vol. 64 (1951), pp. 207-210; cf. also J. F. O'Con- 
nor and W. Hayden, Chalk Talks, or Teaching the Catechism Graphically, 
3 vols. (St. Louis: The Queen's Work, 1928). Similarly simple and 
pertinent are the wall pictures (symbols with brief explanations appended) 
by J. Goldbrunner, Sakramentenunterricht mit dem Werkheft (Munich: 
Kosel, 1950). (These appeared for the first time in the KBl, 1946-1949). 
To be recommended are those drawings with which Alfred Riedel 
illustrated the "workbook" of Oderisia Knechtle, Mit dem Kind durchs 
Kirchenjahr (3rd ed.; Freiburg: Herder, 1954). Joh. M. Pemsel, Der Kate- 
chet zeichnet mit der Jugend (Regensburg: Pustet, 1956) similar to Gold- 
brunner and worthwhile. 



established in the catechesis itself. In this way the survey and 
memory work can be lightened for the children. 

A final way to obtain concrete visualization, which we should 
not discard, but use with certain reservations, is dramatization. 
Its value is to be found in the fact that it is a repetition, in sub- 
limated form, of biblical events (for example, the flight into 
Egypt, the wedding feast at Cana, the parable of the ten wise 
and ten foolish virgins), and also of events in parish life (for 
example, an infant to be baptized). The personal skill and the 
tact of the catechist will condition the value of such experiments 
for the children. Properly carried out such plays can, thanks to 
the imaginative powers of the children, and despite the simpli- 
city of their presentation, be productive of results similar to 
those achieved by the primitive medieval dramas of Easter and 
Christmas. These did not contain much beyond simple dialogue; 
nevertheless, they exerted a great influence over the people. 16 

For more advanced pupils there is the sketch, which applies 
a religious theme to everyday life, clarifies a problem in mono- 
logue or dialogue form, answers difficulties, and encourages 
inner resolution. The proper time, however, for such a sketch 
would be during after-school activities. 17 

16 Suggestions more in detail may be found in Mayer, pp. 83, 89, 
206. — Dramatization is practised on a grand scale in the Catholic schools 
of England where the catechist has, it is true, a great number of religion 
periods at his disposal. F. H. Drinkwater, "La religion enseignee par 
le drame" hi Lumen Vitae,Vo\. 3 (1948), pp. 154-172. In The Sower it is 
unusual when a play adapted for children does not appear in its pages. 
F. H. Drinkwater has himself written plays, cf. his works which were 
cited below, p. 408. On similar endeavours in France (Francoise 
Derkenne Lentner reports (above, pp. 37 ff), pp. 64f . For the end of the 
religious plays cf. H. C. Gardiner, Mysteries' End (New Haven: Yale 
University, 1946). 

17 On this subject consult: Kl. Tilmann, "Kurzspiele beim Gemein- 
schaftstag" in KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), pp. 514-516; idem, "Uber religiose 
Kurzspiele und Religionsgesprache " in KBl, Vol. 76 (1951), pp. 92-99. 



The first introduction to a dramatic presentation, feasible in 
most instances, can be given, for example, when the catechist, 
after assigning various roles, permits suitable biblical episodes 
to be read or to be re-enacted in the classroom — similar in 
fashion to what takes places in the liturgy during the reading 
of the Passion. 

In all this the catechist must not forget that he himself is the 
most powerful means of making Christian doctrine visual to 
the children. In him the children are brought face to face with 
the Church and so with Christ. His manner of greeting, of 
speaking, of praying, the reverence with which he talks of 
sacred matters, the self-mastery which he exercises when dealing 
with them, the conscientious justice which he practises, and the 
love he manifests for them are for the children the most vivid 
instructions, and the most effective illustration of his doctrine. 

This is also true of the children's Christian environment, 
the local church and its services, the school, which not only 
during the religious period, but also in its entire curriculum and 
in all its external features and activities, should possess a 
thoroughly Catholic character, to say nothing of the family. 
In such surroundings the child is enabled, step by step, to 
observe the most varied examples of Christian life, which not 
only support what he has heard and been taught, but also 
stimulate the desire to lead one himself. 

2. Catechetical Language 

It is not always easy for the young priest catechist, who takes 
up his work after a long course of studies, to employ language 
that the children easily understand. Not only the technical 
theological terms, but also the language used in lecturing to 
adults or in preaching sermons are so many stones, and not 
bread, for the children. Catechetical language must be child- 



like. As we have pointed out, a step is taken in this direction 
when the subject matter is offered to younger children in a 
narrative form and even to older children is explained at the 
end of a story. A basic requirement for catechetical language 
is that it be visual; stories are always visual. In the first place 
there are Bible stories which are characterized in their original 
form by concreteness and clarity. The catechist, however, needs 
other narrative material in addition to the Bible, less for the 
formal step of presentation for which the "lesson unit" 
catechism as a rule offers the outline of a biblical story, than for 
later on, in the step of deepening, in repetition. The ideal 
would be for him to draw upon his own personal experiences. 
The most insignificant details, minute personal experiences 
drawn from everyday life, have a special attraction because of 
their personal character. There are printed collections of such 
story material, but these are unequal in value and uneven in 
quality. 18 The catechist should avoid fictitious stories as much 
as possible ; at all times he should be the messenger of truth. 
On the other hand, there is nothing to prevent him from using a 

18 F. Spirago and J. J. Baxter, Anecdotes and Examples (New York: 
Benziger, 1904); D. Chisholm, The Catechism in Examples, 5 vols. 
(London: R. T. Washbourne, 1908); H. Rolfus (with F. Girardey), 
Illustrated Explanations of the Commandments; — Vol. II, of the Creed; 
Vol. Ill, of the Sacraments (New York: Benziger Bros., 1897); F. H. 
Drinkwater, Catechism Stories (London: Burns, Oates, 1941). This 
volume first appeared in the form of five distinct booklets; idem, 
More Catechism Stories (Westminster: Newman, 1948); idem, Third Book 
of Catechism Stories (Westminster: Newman, 1957). — See also J.Minich- 
thaler, Heiligenlegenden katechetisch ausgewertet (2nd ed. ; Munich, 1935); 
P. A. Budik, Leuchten auf dem Lehensweg. Das Heiligenlehen in Beispielen 
(Modling, 1948); J. Fattinger, Der Katechet erzahlt, 3 vols. (Ried, 1934 ff.) 
(only the first volume is outstanding and it has appeared in several editions). 
Additional material may be found in First Communion literature that has 
already appeared, as well in the reports from missionaries in pagan lands. 
Various works on catechesis also contain appendices which are filled 
with examples. 



situation taken from the lives of the children themselves, and 
then embroidering it with concrete details, in order to make a 
certain doctrine or moral teaching more real for them. 

The story must always, however, remain subordinate. On 
occasion it may perhaps be necessary to use it simply to hold 
the attention of an especially unruly class. But it may never 
become a mere instrument of amusement. Gustav Mey 
warned catechists very clearly against an excessive use of such 
stories. He waxed especially vehement against catechists who 
encouraged in this way a certain "spiritual love of dainties" 
among the children. With justice he criticized the opinions 
that "catechesis provides for variety rather than for unity, for 
ornamentation rather than for content, and pleasant conver- 
sation deserves priority over an instruction that is clear, correct 
and thorough." 19 

If w r e have demanded that catechetical language be concrete, 
we did not mean that it must be rich in images. Figures of 
speech have value for children only when they can be fully 
developed. The catechist should not say, "many people streamed 
by", but, "many people came, so many in fact that the crowd 
appeared to be like a mighty stream". If the children are to 
understand parables they must first know something about the 
objects with which the comparisons are being made. "Similarly 
this is true of people like us. . . ." Abstract expressions should 
be avoided as much as possible in the lower grades. The catechist 
should not say, "Jesus has the power to forgive sins", but, "Jesus 
can forgive sins", not, "It is our duty. . .", but, "we must . . .", 
not, "A good child enjoys prayer", but, "he likes to pray", 
"he likes to talk to God". 20 

19 G. Mey, Vollstandige Katechesen (4th ed.; Freiburg: Herder, 1879), 
p. 34; J. Millot, Tresor d'Histoires, 8 vols. (Paris: Lethielleux, 1941). 

20 For other pertinent observations, see Raab, pp. 196f. He maintains 
that "children speak the language of action and not that of no- 



Catechetical language also demands simple sentence structure. 
Long sentences and those with involved subordinate clauses are 
impossible for children to understand. Expressions which are 
used should, moreover, be adapted to the vocabulary of the 
children. In American schools precise lists have been drawn up 
for the teacher. In these the average word mastery of children 
in different age-groups is noted. Equipped with such aids theorists 
are beginning to revise textbooks for children. This does not 
mean that the catechist may not use a word with which the 
children are not familiar. Many ideas are clarified by an added 
paraphrase ; others, by the content itself. The language of the 
catechist need not be simply a reproduction of the child's 
word list; in the mouth of the catechist it may sound not 
child-like but childish. The catechist may keep a step ahead of 
the children, but not so far that they are unable to follow him. 

Basically the catechist should use language as it is written. 
The environment of the classroom, and also the dignity of 
the subject matter demands this. This again does not mean 
bookish language. It should be taken for granted that to make 
himself understood the catechist may make use of paraphrase, 
couched in the idiom of the children. He may even encourage 
the smaller children who are still clumsy in the use of words 
and whose stock of phrases is limited, by saying to them "Say 
it as you would at home". In general, however, his language 
should not be the language of the printed page, but the collo- 
quial language of educated people. 21 

Any mother can teach us the correct way to speak to children. 
Without having taken any courses in pedagogy, solely by 
means of her love and of her feeling for the thought processes 
of the children, she has discovered the correct solutions. She 
speaks in one way to a three-year old, in another to a six-year 

21 In the same sense see also G. Mey, op. cit., p. 36; F. H. Drinkwater, 
"The Use of Words", in Sloyan, op. cit., pp. 263-280. 



old, and in still another to the teen-ager. An excellent way of 
learning correct catechetical language is to listen to catecheses 
given by able catechists or by proficient teachers. Printed 
catecheses also offer valuable hints. 22 Especially beginners 
must, in their preparation of their catecheses, devote some time 
to the choice of the right language and prepare also verbally all 
the more important chapters of the catechism. 

In addition to its adaptation, catechetical language ought 
to fulfill two other conditions. It should strike the note of 
genuineness as well as preserve the ring of reverence. The 
language in which the truths of our religion are couched 
contains a number of expressions and certain technical phrases 
which today sound rather strange and may create the impres- 
sion that we are treating of an unreal world, to which our 
everyday earthly world bears no relation. In the life of Jesus 
we come across such terms as disciple, publican, thief. Jesus 
Himself is described as Redeemer, Only-begotten. 23 Without 
avoiding these or similar expressions, which have been given a 
definite meaning by constant usage, the catechist will some- 
times paraphrase them, use other terms, out of a feeling for 
language. In so doing the catechist must guard against every- 
thing that is uncouth or trivial; he must remain conscious of the 
fact that sacred objects should be touched only with holy hands. 

22 As examples of good style for children, cf. D. L. Greenstock, 
Christopher's Talks to Catholic Children, 2 vols. (London: Burns, Oates, 
1947); M. Sheehan, A Simple Course of Religion (London: M. H. Gill, 
1938); Maud and Miska Petersham, Stories from the Old Testament (New 
York: J. C. Winston, 1938); Mary Perkins, Your Catholic Language 
(New York: Sheed & Ward, 1942). 

23 For this word we have the Latin term used in the Apostolicum 
(t unicus" : u the only". He is the only Son, in Greek the Only-Begotten. 
In reality we could paraphrase this by saying "the eternal Son of God". 


3. Christian Doctrine and the Child's Intellectual Capacity 

No matter how far the catechist may actually go in his attempt 
to adapt his teaching procedure and his language to the children, 
and no matter how great the capacity bestowed upon them at 
Baptism to absorb the doctrine taught, it is evident that children 
are able to grasp Christian doctrine only in a childlike way. 
On the other hand, we must never distort or adulterate what 
we teach them, nor for their sake present as small what is large, 
or what is firm as weak and unsure. Whatever we teach the 
children must be capable of supporting the superstructure of 
Christian living. 

For this reason we ought to mention some points which 
can be a source of temptation to the catechist to present the 
content of Catholic doctrine in unsuitable forms. There is above 
all the idea of God. In the idea of God which we impart to the 
children, there must indeed be included from the very beginning 
eternal love. Indeed, the catechist should consider himself to be a 
messenger of the love of God, who calls all men to Himself. 
But this does not mean that should he pass over in silence or 
render obscure the majesty and the dominion of God. The 
holy fear of God always remains "the beginning of wisdom" 
(Ps. 110, 10). 

In order to convey some idea of the love which God bears 
for us, we should never lose sight of the fact that He who draws 
us so graciously to Himself is the eternal, holy God, the holy 
God of cjeation to whom we belong, body and soul. Conse- 
quently, it is not fitting continually to speak of "our dear 
Lord" or "our dear God", we should rather say, "God" or "the 
Lord". Neither in Sacred Scripture nor in the whole of ancient 
tradition can we find God referred to with terms of endearment. 
Only during the Age of Enlightenment was it fashionable to 
use such language; the deism of that time w^s very questionable. 



It seemed that God's task was merely to adorn human life. 
The creator, having, with all wisdom and fatherly care, equipped 
the world for men's use, had withdrawn Himself, allowing 
them to pursue their own pleasures. This kind of thinking has had 
its effect also on Catholic apologetics. 

It is significant that at that time Augustine Gruber (d. 1835), 
the Austrian opponent of rationalism in catechesis, entered the lists 
against such a method of presentation. He pointed out that it 
was contrary to divine revelation "to represent God (something 
that man frequently does and has wished to do in religious 
instruction for several decades) as an over-indulgent father who 
permits sin to go unnoticed, and does not demand a change of 
heart but forgives those that remain obdurate in their wickedness ; 
attempting to justify himself by saying that to do otherwise 
might cause the faithful too much distress by picturing divine 
justice as it is, and thus make their hearts leaden." 24 This is in 
essence the same complaint which a little later on Beda Weber 
raised somewhat more sarcastically against the then current 
Protestant instruction on confirmation and on the idea of God. 
"The dear God whom they sometimes mentioned and repeatedly 
taught thus becomes a friendly Oriental potentate from whose 
beard tears of emotion constantly fall, who is pictured with a 
shepherd's crook of green reeds, lest anybody might be hurt by 
it." 25 

We cannot deny that the expressions "the dear God", and 
"our dear Saviour", especially if they are used carelessly, 
smack of levity, and that through them our idea of God might 
suffer. In ordinary conversation we may sometimes employ 
them as a kind of disguise, and in the teaching of little ones we 

24 A. Gruber, Des hi. Augustinus Theorie der Katechetik (3rd ed.; 
Salzburg, 1844), p. 63. 

25 B. Weber, Cartons aus dem Deutschen Kirchenleben (Mainz, 1858), 
p. 475. 



may even tolerate them — although we could equally well em- 
ploy the phrase, "our Father in heaven", and be as readily un- 
derstood (Matt. 5, 16). In all other respects they should be 
dropped completely from catechetical language. 26 

A similar temptation, originating in a similar source, is 
the teaching of divine providence. This doctrine means that 
all creatures and all events are in the hand of God and are 
governed by Him. At the same time we know that God permits 
man great latitude in his activities and that often He does not 
prevent the beneficent forces of nature from harming us. God 
can do this or allow this to happen because in everything His is 
the ultimate will; all the more since He has bestowed upon us 
gifts of the supernatural order and Christ has preceded us into 
glory by way of the Cross. Here we might be tempted to spare 
the faithful and especially the children such a harsh picture of 
reality and to deceive them with pious platitudes concerning 
the burdens which God may ask them to bear — with the result 
that when they are brought face to face with reality, their 
faith will be shattered all the more brutally. Many prefer to 
forget that every hair on their head is numbered and that in 
every situation there is always a way that will lead them to God 

26 Compare this to what is in Gatterer, pp. 445 f. The same things 
might be said of that other expression that is so frequently heard: "the 
loving Jesus". The present writer is well aware that the criticism which 
R. Firneis in ChPBl, Vol. 62 (1949), p. 12, expressed on this point (that 
it was "too sentimental") was not well received by the Viennese Cate- 
chists, both men and women, ibid., p. 122. It is indeed true that the native 
genius of a people has the right to determine the language which it 
uses. Compare further, ibid., p. 90, where it is remarked, that this and 
other expressions of the same kind should serve, "to restore the harmony 
between the intellect and the heart in our spiritual life, which has been 
withered by rationalist thought". This should indicate to us sufficiently 
the origin of such turns of expression. We should consequently 
endeavour to prevent such rationalism from appearing in our catecheses. 
— On the question of names for Christ, see above, footnote no. 69 p. 144. 



and to eternal salvation, with the consequence that everything 
that befalls them redounds to their own advantage, if only they 
love God (Rom. 8, 28). Instead they prefer to imagine that 
everything that happens is for the best and that there is a happy 
solution to every problem. In every collection of stories and 
anecdotes, we can always find a great number that have happy 
endings; these might tempt us to draw the conclusion that 
these are the rule rather than the exception, and that in other 
instances the happy ending is not so apparent to the naked eye. 
No one is helped by such over-simplifications of reality. 27 We 
should, however, be grateful that God has provided for the 
manifold needs of our life in the natural order (see Matt. 
6, 25 ff.). We should point out that a life based on Christian prin- 
ciples offers us the best guarantee that the order of things, in 
this life, will best promote our eternal salvation, and further, 
that God is often ready to help in extraordinary ways. We 
ought also to accustom the younger generation to the idea that 
God does not spare even His beloved children the hardships of 
life, but through them tests their strength. 

On what we have already said depends also the correct treat- 
ment of prayer. We should never permit the children to believe 
that we should pray only when we stand in need, that prayer 
is limited only to the prayer of petition, and that the petitions 
themselves are restricted to the goods of this earth. This could 
only result in the conviction that prayer does not help us in any 
way and should, therefore, be abandoned. 

Besides the prayer "for something" and "for somebody" 
which are the usual themes, we should attempt to teach the 
children prayers of praise and thanksgiving. Catechesis in school 

27 St. Schmidt, " Uberf romme Redensarten " in Benedikt. Monatschrift, 
Vol. 23 (1947), pp. 369 ff. — It is an error to say that God could not have 
created a better world, c£. Chr. Pesch, Praelectiones dogmaticae, Vol. Ill 
(4th ed.; Freiburg: Herder, 1914), pp. 31 f. 



supplies us with many opportunities for doing this. Each newly 
acquired piece of knowledge should awaken some expression of 
gratitude, just as in the liturgy, after a lesson from Holy Scrip- 
ture, a hymn of praise follows in the form of a Responsorium, 
and, only then, the prayer of petition. We need, moreover, only 
to examine the perfect model of Christian prayer, the Our 
Father, and make the children conversant with the thoughts 
it contains. It begins with adoration: "Hallowed be Thy 
name", 28 and only in the second half is it turned into a petition. 
Seen in this light an introduction to active participation in the 
liturgy also assumes a new importance. 

Another tendency to simplify a truth unduly is encountered 
in the doctrine of the Eucharist. The catechist may think — but 
erroneously — that he is making the mystery easier for the child 
as well as doing justice to the sublimity of his subject, when he 
says: "God is in the Sacred Host. You may receive God (or the 
'dear Lord')." Gustav Mey passes the following judgement. 
"By mentioning the presence of the Godhead in the beginning, 
the dogma is inverted and distorted; the mystery becomes a 
monstrosity." 29 Such an orientation directs the child to draw 
false conclusions — the Eucharist has not been given to us that 
God might be present in our midst — God is omnipresent — but 
that Christ might dwell in our midst, and still more precisely 
in order that we might have his Body and Blood to offer, a 
perfect victim, to God, and as nourishment for our souls. 

28 We can paraphrase this formula, which is difficult for the children 
to understand, because of the Hebrewism it contains, in the following 
way. The angels in heaven "sanctify" God or the name of God by chant- 
ing the triple Sanctus, by adoring: or, the angels are not the only 
ones who act in this way, men and all creatures ought "to sanctify" God 
and to adore Him in this way. 

29 G. Mey, Vollstandige Katechesen (4th ed.), p. 364. Mey advocates 
that we should as a rule use the terms : The Body, the Blood of the Sav- 



It should go without saying that regarding the other mys- 
teries of faith we must never tone down anything in order to 
adapt it to the mental capacities of the child. The danger 
today, however, is not as great as it was during the Age of the 
Enlightenment, when it was widely held that all truths had to 
be tailored to the measurements of human reason as well as to 
the child's intelligence; when doctrines concerning the Trinity, 
original sin, actual grace, were either omitted or falsified. 
When teaching these mysteries it is not necessary for the child- 
ren to understand everything — mysteries can never be "under- 
stood" — nor is it required that every concept should be fully 
clear to them. 

Especially in the lower grades a figurative expression may 
have to suffice and it is possible that it actually will, especially 
if it is taken from Scripture. The "washing away of sin", "the 
wedding garment of the soul", "the light of heaven which is 
enkindled in the soul at Baptism", are telling images to justify 
this. A sense of wonder which is awakened in this way is much 
more in conformity with the mystery and is much richer in 
religious significance than a premature and consequently un- 
successful attempt at rational explanation. 

The catechist, when addressing children in the lower grades, 
for whom picture and concept are identical, may, when he 
deals with the judgement of conscience or with the impulses of 
grace, sometimes speak of the "voice of God" 30 without much 
further explanation being needed. The more mature children 

30 The expression, "the voice of the Guardian Angel" can be justified: 
we cannot limit and still less exclude the activity of our Guardian Angels. 
We could in fact invoke the liturgy to corroborate the correctness of 
the phrase. On the 29th of September we praise St. Michael in the fifth 
Response of Matins: "may he conduct the souls of the faithful into the 
paradise of joy", and immediately this phrase is repeated as the substance 
of our petition, that God might send us the Holy Spirit. 



will understand if in explaining its meaning he says that what 
is meant is conscience enlightened by faith. 31 

In a similar fashion the catechist should present the first 
chapters of the Bible in the traditional form as given in Genesis. 
Only in the upper grades will it be possible for him with due 
reverence and restraint to add those limitations and classifica- 
tions by which the harmony between our present knowledge 
of nature and human history is established. 

In other points, too, it will be necessary as the children grow 
older to correct in their minds many childish ideas, especially 
in those instances in which everyday language supports the 
primitive notions. This, for example, is the case with the idea 
of heaven. Our increased astronomical knowledge has exploded 
the earlier picture of a "real" world, not infrequently endowed 
with the characteristics of fairyland. 32 Precisely from this 
perspective of a progressive development of religious thought 
it becomes imperative to prolong catechesis beyond the years 
of childhood. 

4. Faith and its Basis 

When in catechesis we try to advance from the visual presenta- 
tion to clear notions and in this way initiate the children 
in Christian doctrine, we shall have to remember that it is 
not merely a question of increasing knowledge but faith. 33 
The catechesis must have a definite aim: the children should 

31 J. I. Schade, Catholic Morality (Paterson, N.J.: St. Anthony Guild 
Press, 1943), pp. 39-44. 

32 R. Firneis, "Der Himmel in der katechetischen Unterweisung " in 
Der Seelsorger, Vol. 18 (Vienna, 1947/48). Firneis teaches die children 
that "to be in heaven" means: "to be with God". Now God is truly 
everywhere; but just as we cannot hear radio programmes unless we have 
a set, so God remains hidden to us in this life. 

33 Garrett Pierse, Virtues and Vices (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1935), 
pp. 130-152. 



understand the new truths not only with their intellects, but 
with that faith which is due to the Word of God. 

In catechesis we are dealing with baptized children. At 
Baptism along with the life of grace there is also infused into 
their hearts the virtue of faith. It has only to be unfolded, and 
in that respect our catechesis is for the children always mysta- 
gogical; it is an introduction to what they already possess sub- 
consciously. The subconscious possession must be extended into 
the realm of the conscious — by opening up the content, but 
also by leading towards the act of faith by which this content 
is embraced. 

The child who has been raised in Christian surroundings has 
become acquainted, through his parents, with many details of 
Christian doctrine. If he should have realized that this content 
stems not only from his parents, but also from God, he will 
already have made an act of faith. The catechesis offered by the 
Church must now lead on from here. Devout acceptance to 
which we try to guide the children means more than merely 
holding something to be true. What is at stake from the begin- 
ning is their devout attitude which will affect the whole man 
and in which man wholly subjects himself to God and makes 
God the ultimate purpose of his life. In other words it is a 
question of faith unfolded in love. 34 Such a faith alone counts 
and only such a faith can be expected to withstand the threats 
and dangers to which today even children are exposed. 

Yet this faith must also and especially include an acceptance 
of truth, an acceptance based on the authority of God Himself. 
The catechist stands before the children not simply as a teacher 
of a branch of knowledge called "religion", but as the holder 
of a commission from God, as a "catechist", who transmits the 

34 For a development of the phrase : fides qua creditor, cf . F. X. Arnold, 
" Glaubensverkiindigung in der Gegenwart" in Gloria Dei, Vol. 5 
(1950/51), pp. 38-55. 



"echo" of the Word of God to the children. He will thus make 

it his aim that all new knowledge which he imparts is received 

by the children as befits the Word of God. 

How can he achieve this? One condition is that he be fully 

conscious at all times that he comes to the children as the 

ambassador of God. Augustin Gruber put this thought at the 

very beginning of his teaching : 

"The subject matter of our instruction must be, and is exclusively, 
divine revelation. Only as ambassador of God, and not as his teacher or 
as a purveyor of any other kind of human knowledge, does he stand before 
his pupils. Thus every imagined distinction between natural and 
revealed religion disappears entirely. Everything that he teaches 
must be taught as a gracious revelation of God to man — of Creator to 
creature. Consequently, in the form of his instruction, in the tone of 
his voice, in the attitude of his body the catechist must give the impression 
that he speaks as the ambassador of God. Any carelessness in his demean- 
our, any frivolity in his voice, and any facetiousness in his expression 
must be avoided. In order to convey to the children the dignity of being 
an ambassador of God the catechist himself should be fully imbued by 
the greatness of divine revelation. When he proceeds to give an instruc- 
tion he should recall as vividly as possible the sublimity of Him whose 
ambassador he is, the greatness of the message which he as ambassador 
must impart, and the love of our Lord for those to whom he as ambas- 
sador must speak. In this way he will acquire that spiritual disposition 
which befits the ambassador of God among men." 35 

In this way the catechist naturally will awaken and foster in 
the children the consciousness that in his words (the more mature 
soon make the necessary distinction: not in every single word) 
is being imparted a message from God. The younger children, 
who from psychological necessity, accept with complete con- 
fidence the words of adults — those of the catechist as well as 
those of the parents — will thus naturally be led to faith, 36 in a 

35 A. Gruber, Praktisches Handbuch der Katechetik (7th ed. ; Katecheti- 
sche Vorlesungen II) (Salzburg, 1853), pp. 3f. 

36 For this reason Hirscher maintains in his Katechetik (3rd ad.) with 
justice: If catechists rebuff their catechumens and lose their love and their 
confidence, they have for all practical purposes cut off their right hand 
as far as practical results are concerned. 



manner adapted to their capacity without their having been 
given any insight into reasons. 37 

Among the older children, the act of faith ought to have 
that foundation which its nature requires. This can be given, 
provided the catechist gradually introduces them to the twofold 
recognition that, firstly, what he teaches is the doctrine of the 
Church, and secondly, that we must believe what the Church 
teaches, because God speaks through her. 

The knowledge that the doctrine which is propounded stems 
from the Catholic Church creates no difficulties for the children. 
Through the catechist the Church, in effect, does speak to them; 
for the catechist is her living instrument. Especially if the catechist 
is a priest, his very presence, his external appearance, offers a 
much more cogent proof than if he were to demonstrate the 
agreement between what he teaches and the dogmatic definitions 
of the Church by means of logical arguments or by recourse to 
documents or to Scripture. 38 The book, too, which they use in 

37 There is also another theological opinion which holds that it is im- 
possible to awaken an act of fact without an insight into the praeawhuh 
fidei, cf . Chr. Pesch, Praelectiones dogmaticae, Vol. VIII (5th ed. ; Freiburg : 
Herder, 1922), pp. 141 f. These theologians must as a consequence assume 
that even the child who at the tender age of six or seven is being prepared 
for the reception of first Confession and first Holy Communion (and 
for this an act of faith is certainly necessary) has acquired a certitude 
concerning the fact of revelation with corresponds to his age, if for 
no other reason than that many persons who are gathered in the church 
(and along with them the entire Church) profess the same doctrines. — 
Concerning the state of the question cf . R. Aubert, Le probleme de Vacte 
de foi (Louvain, 1950). 

38 On the secondary level we are able to appeal to reason on the basis 
of a personal experience gained in a technical school for young girls, 
J. Adrian, Weisheit aus des Hochsten Mund, 3 vols. (Mergentheim, 1926— 
1929), places special stress on the proof based on the agreement between 
dogma and the sources of our faith. — The agreement of doctrines with 
passages from Sacred Scriptures is suggested in the catechism itself by 
the number of citations made from them; cf. F. J. Connell, Dogmatic 



the classroom and outside it has been given to them by the 
Church, be it a school Bible or a catechism, but especially the 
catechism, in which doctrine is presented in a form sanctioned 
by the Church in the course of the centuries. 

It is a somewhat more difficult task gradually to make clear 
to the children that, in those things which the Church teaches, 
the Word of God is being communicated to them and that for 
this reason they must accept it with their whole heart. We 
ought to obtain from the children that spontaneous and simple 
assent which they have already given to the words and teaching 
of other adults and which is based on relative certitude. 39 

The catechist must gradually base this assent upon a valid 
and perfectly sound certitude or at least prepare for the transi- 
tion to it. Though the need for such a real corroboration of the 
faith does not make its presence felt before the onset of adoles- 
cence, it will, however, become an urgent need for which it 
is better to be prepared. 

The children should be aware that in the Church we are not 
required to believe anything blindly; rather, that we believe 
because we perceive that the teaching presented to us by the 

and Scriptural Foundations for Catechists (Notes on Baltimore, No. 3) 
(Paterson, N.J. : Confraternity Publications, 1955); G. H. Guyot, Scrip- 
tural References for the Baltimore Catechism (New York: J. F. Wagner, 

39 For their entire lives a majority of the faithful possesses a certitude 
that is apparently unshakeable but for reasons which objectively are not 
sufficient from a logical point of view. It is clear, however, that in the 
face of the many dangers to which faith is exposed today, such a certitude 
is inadequate. A kind of substitute for it is the consciousness of the faithful 
that within the Church (among priests, theologians and educated laity) 
the objective certitude they lack certainly exists, cf. L. Kosters, Zeitge- 
mafie Glaubensbegrundung, Lebendige Seelsorge, edited by W. Meyer and 
P. Neyer (Freiburg: Herder, 1937), pp. 78-90; this may be found in 
English, W. Meyer et al. (A. Green, trans.), The Pastoral Care of Souls 
(St. Louis: Herder, 1944), pp. 80-93. 



Church comes from God. For those to whom historical studies 
will always remain a closed book, the natural way by which 
they can know that God has spoken is to look to the Church 
which stands before them as a miracle of God. 40 

It all depends, therefore, on making visible to the children 
the beauty, the compactness, the indestructibility of the Catholic 
Church, its authority in proclaiming doctrines, its wealth of 
heroic virtue and holiness. Just as St. Thomas the Apostle 
recognized the risen Saviour by the five wounds in His trans- 
figured body, the children should recognize in the marvellous 
works performed by the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, 
that it is truly the work of God. 41 We ought also to recall what 
Augustine told his catechumens, namely, that in this our time 
and world, much cockle and tares are mixed among the 
wheat lying on God's threshing floor. 42 This does not, however, 
affect the taste of the wheat. 

For those unfamiliar with historical thinking it will be diffi- 
cult to provide historical proofs for the fact that God has spoken 
in history. These proofs have only been developed in the con- 
troversies with Protestantism and with unbelief during the last 
few centuries. It is argued that there are reports about the life 
and miracles of Christ which also as human testimonies deserve 
the fullest consideration. From these testimonies it follows that 
Jesus received a mission from God which was authenticated by 
miracles, and that he entrusted His teachings to a Church which 
is known to us today as the Roman Catholic Church. 

This approach is possible at best only for adolescents, and then 

40 Concilium Vaticanum, De fide cath., c. 3 (Denzinger et al., n. 1794), 
The Church as signum levatum in nationes, Kosters, among others, p. 91 
(English edition). 

41 D. Wolkenau, KBl, Vol. 48 (1922), pp. 197 ff.; P. P. McKenna, 
The Theology of Faith (Dublin: Browne & Nolan, 1914), pp. 45-49. 

42 Augustinus, De catech. rud., c. 7; J. P. Christopher, op. at., pp. 27-29. 



only if we transpose it into the present. This is not impossible, 
for Christ is not only an historical, but also a contemporary 
figure. The echo of His footsteps on this earth can still be 
heard today. In numerous works of charity, art, customs, 
language, in our calendar which is based upon the year of our 
Lord's birth, and not least in the organization of the Church, can 
we detect traces of his coming. These are ripples of the waves 
which had their source in him. 

For a graduating class of children of fourteen, who had asked 
whether Christ actually lived, the following argument was 
proposed by Klemens Tilmann. 

"Who are the most famous men in the world today? Churchill, Eisen- 
hower and Krushchev are the names we hear most frequently repeated. 
Let us compare Christ with them, let us ask the men in the streets of 
any important city whether they can tell us about these personalities, 
and then enquire whether they know the place of Christ's birth, details 
of His life, sermons that He had preached. The test will probably result 
in Christ's favour. We may thus conclude that his birthday, his death 
and resurrection are celebrated throughout the whole world. Not 
twenty or fifty, but literally millions speak to Him daily". 43 

Thus, in broad outline, Christ is shown to the children as the 
miracle of history. 44 

If, towards the end of childhood, it should be possible to lay 
the foundations for a proper theological basis of the faith, 
the value of such an attempt at this stage will only be in the 
suggestion that such a foundation is possible and that, there- 

43 Kl. Tilmann, "Zur Glaubensbegriindung in der Entlassklasse " in 
KBl } Vol. 74 (1949), pp. 77-79. 

44 Tilmann also attempts to make clear to the children the genuineness 
of the biblical accounts which have been spread throughout the world. 
To do this he cites an example of a road-accident which has been wit- 
nessed by twelve different witnesses. They disperse after seeing it, but 
recount it to others with whom they come into contact. Later a claims 
agent or police officer questions each one of them alone. If one of them 
in order to help one of the drivers should give a different account he 
would at once be found out. 



fore, our faith is not a blind one. The psychological moment for 
a more extensive treatment of this subject is reached only in 
adolescence, but even then we must expect the less talented 
children to understand the questions but not the answers. 45 

In any case, and especially wherever the limits have to be 
fixed between faith and unbelief, the catechist should avoid 
offering rationally convincing arguments in a manner of light- 
hearted triumph, or by pouring scorn upon the opponents. 
Because we are here dealing with that form of moral certitude, 
termed voluntary certitude, no compelling proofs can be given 
at all in this field. Reason recognizes the necessity of assenting, 
but it is the will that has the final word, but there will 
always be further obscurities behind which those who want to 
can hide. We must remember that faith is a gift of grace, a gift 
of divine goodness. Faith is the door through which we have 
access to the gifts of the supernatural order. Intellectual pride 
and obdurate self-will, which would dictate to God the manner 
in which His revelation should be made, will never be able to 
pass through this gate. 

Consequently, in the elementary school, the task of the 
catechist in laying the groundwork for the faith can amount to 
no more than an attempt to keep alive the children's factual 
believing, to nourish the joy in what faith contains, and to 
develop a humble attitude towards God in every possible way, 
so that when the time comes to supply the rational structure of 
faith, a receptive attitude will have been prepared. 

Practice of the faith will keep alive factual believing. When 
an important truth is being considered, the catechist, together 
with the children, should conclude the lesson by making, in 
the form of a prayer, an act of faith. St. Francis Xavier used to 

45 All that concerns instruction on the secondary-level we leave to 
one side; in the upper grades of such schools the catechist can count on 
more favourable conditions existing. 



do this when teaching the ignorant Christians whom he dis- 
covered in the coast lands of Malabar. 

In his book on Saint Francis Xavier 46 Father James Brodrick 
quotes the saint as saying : 

"On Sundays I assemble all the people, men and women, young 
and old, and get them to repeat the prayers in their language. They 
take much pleasure in doing so and come to the meetings gladly. We 
begin with a profession of faith in the unity and trinity of God, I first 
saying the Creed in stentorian tones and then they all together in 
mighty chorus. That done, I go through the Creed article by article. . . . 
As they confess themselves to be Christians, I require them to tell 
me whether they firmly belive each and every one of the articles, and 
they reply in loud chorus, with their arms folded in their breasts in 
the form of a cross, that they do. I make them repeat the Creed more 
often than anything else because only a man who believes in the twelve 
articles has a right to call himself a Christian." 

Francis then described a similar procedure regarding the 

Ten Commandments. 

"I give out the First Commandment which they repeat, and then we 
say all together, Jesus Christ, Son of God, grant us grace to love thee 
above all things. When we have asked for this grace we recite the Pater 
Noster together, and then cry with one accord, Holy Mary, Mother of 
Jesus Christ, obtain for us grace from thy Son to enable us to keep the 
First Commandment. Next we say an Ave Maria, and proceed in the 
same manner through each of the remaining nine Commandments. And 
just as we said twelve Paters and Aves in honour of the twelve articles 
of the Creed, so we say ten Paters and Aves in honour of the Ten Com- 
mandments, asking God to give us grace to keep them well. . . ." 

It is of decisive importance that the children should realize 
ever more and more acutely that their faith is a precious thing 
and that they should embrace it with holy joy. The catechist, 
therefore, ought to be aware that he is not only imparting know- 
ledge to the children but also unfolding to them the beauties 

46 This is taken from J. Brodrick, St. Francis Xavier (New York: 
Wicklow Press, 1952), pp. 141-142. The original of his text is taken from 
G. Schurhammer and J. Wicki, Vol. I (Monumenta hist. S. ]., 67 vols.; 
Rome 1944), pp. 161 f. See also J. Hofmger, "Das katechetische Aposto- 
lat des lil. Franz Xaver" in KBl, Vol. 79 (1954), pp. 56-62. 



that are implicit in it, so that their faith may be transformed 
into love and love into holy enthusiasm. In other words, he 
must proclaim "good news of great joy". This has been the 
concern of the catechetical revival during the last two decades, 
and is what chiefly concerns us in this book. Indeed, simply 
proclaiming the "good news" is, in itself, not sufficient; the 
children will also have to be given the opportunity of explain- 
ing the gladdening riches of Christianity, the liturgy, sacred 
customs, pious and joyful devotions; all the more so if such a 
beneficient atmosphere is lacking in their homes. 

It is a frequent experience of teachers that however zealous 
the catechist he will achieve little in a large number of young 
people. Towards the end of their school education, many 
pupils adopt the following attitude: "What we were taught in 
the religion period may be true but why should I concern my- 
self with it?" True to the spirit of our world they would like to 
leave religious problems to take care of themselves and to be 
satisfied with what is offered here on earth. Indifference, there- 
fore, not only affects actual dogma but also the basis of religion 
itself, and every kind of religious practice, especially the institu- 
tional and sacramental life of the church. What can be done 
about it? 

Catechists and priests may be tempted to offset such an 
attitude by the argument of need : that without faith and with- 
out the help of the sacraments it is impossible to check the 
passions and to lead a good life. And indeed, it is natural that 
young people at this stage in their development, when their 
attitude to life is involved, should be guided above all by their 
needs and thus be most easily approached from this direction. 

But in what sense is such a procedure justified? How far 
may we build upon needs, upon youth's yearning for happi- 
ness, and so construct a bridge to the sacramental life, and to 
the gifts of the supernatural order? At this point we are con- 



fronted by a great difficulty. The supernatural life is by its 
very name that for which there is no need in human nature, not 
even a positive receptiveness but rather that which God gives 
freely out of his goodness. The only thing which can serve as 
a foundation for the grace which God grants us is that as 
creatures endowed with reason we can respond to His call when 
He wills to raise us to the dignity of His children. This is what 
theology calls the potentia ohoedientialis* 1 We cannot, however, 
deduce a need for the goods of the supernatural order from it. 
But we can demonstrate a need for subordinating our entire life 
to God and to His divine order. Man without God (and man- 
kind without God) sooner or later necessarily falls prey to 
chaos, as the experience of individuals and nations has amply 
proved. This divine order, we might add, is nowhere observed 
so completely and nowhere followed so constantly as in Catholic 
Christianity. In other creeds the notion of God has been diluted 
by Deism or debased by Pantheism. In this sense we may say 
that man "needs" the Catholic faith and should accept it in its 
totality. Experienced priests know that acquaintance with che 
New Testament, and with Christ as He appears in its pages, 
often makes such an overwhelming impression upon the young 
that all difficulties concerning faith disappear. This does not 
mean that all resistance has been overcome. Why, they may 
ask, are other things "added" in the Catholic Church? 

We must divide this thought into its component parts. 

47 In a conference report Ubernatur und erziehender Religionsunter- 
richt (ed. by L. Bocks, Hildesheim, 1937) we should examine the paper 
read by Th. Soiron, which refers to this basis. True the attempt is made 
here to derive a certain need from this potentia oboedientialis; see also J. A. 
Jungmann, "Der Zugang zur Ubernatur in der religiosen Jugendunter- 
weisung" in KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), pp. 225-227; cf. W. R. O'Connor, The 
Eternal Quest (New York: Longmans, Green, 1947) in which the author 
takes up the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on man's natural desire of 
God, especially pp. 181-185. 



Firstly, our need for God is clearly established. Unless we recog- 
nize God and His laws, inscribed in the very nature of things, 
human order must disintegrate. God can be known by every 
man (Rom. 1, 10). Few people today actually want to be god- 
less, although many offer a very questionable interpretation of 
the idea of God. Secondly, we must proceed by saying that if 
God exists and if He is a personal being, we must expect this 
God to want to communicate with us, His creatures. For our 
part we must listen if He speaks. 48 He speaks, and when He 
shows us the path along which we should travel, we must follow 
it. He has spoken through Christ. It is surprising that He does 
not place upon us an intolerable burden, but He makes known 
to us "good news of great joy", inviting us to share in His 
own blessed life. Two things are thus required if we wish to 
facilitate for young people not only faith, but also willing and 
joyful participation in the Church's sacramental life. To lead 
them from their need for a well-ordered life and guide them 
to a personal God. It is from God, however, that the glad 
tidings in their entire glory should be made resplendent. 

All faith rests on knowledge of God, ultimately on the natural 
knowledge of God derived from creation by the use of reason. 49 
Today, this ultimate basis of faith, too, has been destroyed to a 
large extent, and not a few children who have received Baptism 
and attended our catecheses come to us from an environment 
which is more or less unbelieving. Of the rest we can say that 
sooner or later the majority will find itself exposed to the 
influence of a world estranged from God. 

Should we then begin our catechesis with proofs for the 
existence of God? Even in unfavourable circumstances, we 
assume as normal the child who believes in God, since the know- 

48 J. C. Fenton, We Stand With Christ (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1942), 
pp. 429-433. 

49 Concilium Vaticanum, De revel. (Denzinger et ah, n. 1785). 



ledge of God is natural to the child's psychological development. 
Belief in God is simply presumed to be present and is taken 
as a matter of course. 50 In connection, however, with the 
doctrines of faith, the catechist should pay some attention 
to a consideration o£ the ways by which we arrive at a 
knowledge of God. Answering the question: How do men 
arrive at knowledge of God? proof of His existence will also 
be determined and constructed. But this, too, should not be 
left to cold presentation in syllogistic form. Rather, when an 
opportunity arises, be it a text of Sacred Scripture or an example 
drawn from life or an observation in nature, the catechist, 
united with the children in devotion, should attempt the ascent 
from creature to Creator, and to the joyful praise of His 
wisdom, power and goodness. 

5. Formation of Conscience and Moral Sense 

The knowledge acquired by the children is to become faith, 
but should penetrate their lives. At this point we approach the 
problem with which catechetical method deals under the head- 
ing of deepening and application. Every catechesis begins, in 
some fashion or other, with real life and later returns again to it, 
to the life of the children and their own environment. We must 
learn to see reality and everyday life afresh and correctly, as it 
is in the light of conscience ; the law of God must become the 
law of life. For a formed conscience is not that which arrives at 
a decision by itself and by some vague feeling, but that which 
has made the law of God its own. 

50 Hirscher, p. 326, remarks rightly in regard to the question (which 
was to be found in the catechisms during the era of Enlightenment): 
Is there a God? "This offends the innate, habitual and unopposed belief 
in God which young people possess." Concerning present day reac- 
tions to the problem, cf. F. Schreibmayr, "Thesen zur Glaubensver- 
kiindigung" in KBl, Vol. 74 (1949), pp. 198f. 



Formation of conscience belongs especially, but not exclu- 
sively, to subjects treating of moral questions, as in the catechism 
or Bible History. When dealing with the different command- 
ments we teach the children how to distinguish between good 
and evil, practising the application in detail, with examples 
drawn from their own lives; negatively by teaching them to 
distinguish correctly between major and minor transgressions; 
positively, by proposing model solutions and inspiring examples 
of virtuous actions and making them aware of the blessings 
which come from the divine order. The children should be 
made conscious that the will of God consists not only of a 
series of commandments and prohibitions, of precepts, the 
transgression of which must be confessed, but that there is an 
immense field in which one can choose between what is good 
and what is better, where the Christian can try to advance 
spiritually. In all these matters their judgement must be exercised, 
especially by means of discussions. These discussions may have 
as their subject matter any small episode from daily life, any 
simple experiences, encountered by the catechist or by the 
children. These may be joined to a story, for instance, in such 
a way that at the decisive moment the catechist may pause to 
ask what shall this particular child, man or woman, in the 
example, do now? In this way consciences can be formed so 
that at a future occasion the child may be able to judge quickly 
and decisively. 

It goes without saying that the theoretical judgement of the 
children should always be translated into practical resolutions 
and concrete tasks. This includes also the examination of con- 
science. We should, therefore, encourage the children to examine 
their conscience every night. This self-examination can and 
should be introduced into the catechesis whenever the catechist 
treats of subject matter which lends itself to this purpose. For 
instance, the children might cover their faces with their hands 



while the catechist questions them, say, on the topic of charity. 
How have I acted toward smaller children? Do I refuse to let 
them play with me? Did I make fun of them? Did I help any of 
my playmates last week? Does any child needing help live in my 
neighbourhood? What can I do to help him in the future? 51 

The formation of conscience, however, will be effective and 
successful only when it develops the moral sense: conscience 
tells us what we should do; our moral sense furnishes the 
motives which should compel us to do good. But the motives 
are decisive for our actual conduct insofar as it is not influenced 
by mere habit. Motives arc the compass by which we plot our 
life's course. A touching story with a happy ending may 
momentarily stir the hearts of the children but only when some 
firm thought, something of lasting value is enshrined in it, will 
its message be fruitful in the later decisions, because only in 
such a way are moral attitudes formed. 

The formation of conscience linked to the teaching of moral 
theology also fosters, at least partially, the acquisition of motives 
and of moral sense; for in moral theology we do not teach 
arbitrary dogmas which must simply be accepted, but rather 
the proper evaluation of all in conformity with the God-given 
order. Here we have already achieved a portion of God-fearing 
sense, but beyond this the whole of Christian doctrine also serves 
to further the formation of a Christian attitude. All revelations 
of God with which we deal in the course of our instructions, 
biblical or catechism, demonstrate the marvellous achievement 
of His paternal love: "Yes, we must love God, He gave us His 
love first" (1 John 4, 19). For each step by which we advance 
in the knowledge of the mysteries of redemption, of the Church, 
of the sacraments, and consequently in the mystery of divine 
love, we must awaken a corresponding love in the hearts of 

51 These questions were suggested by Kl. Tilmann; cf. W. H. Russell, 
Teaching the Christian Virtues (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1952), pp. 60-64. 



the children, a desire to thank God and to glorify Him all their 
lives. Knowledge of the "good news" w r hich has come from 
God should impel us to seek for the kingdom of God and His 
justice before all other things. This knowledge ought to become 
the focal point of all those motives which give life a definite 
purpose and bold impetus. We have already stressed sufficiently 
that mere knowledge is not enough but that the hearts of the 
children must be made receptive for the content of this 
knowledge. 52 

In particular, what has to be done respecting deepening and 
application is to translate the concepts of faith into terms of 
everyday life and to anchor them in the hearts of the children, 
so that they will always meet them there again. Especially die 
habitual forms of the religious life must be filled with new life 
by demonstrating the truths of faith actually contained in them; 
in the feasts of the ecclesiastical year, in the forms of the liturgy, 
in various types of churches, in daily prayers, in religious cus- 
toms and practices. Although our social life has been 
threatened by secularization, it still continues to incorporate 
numerous religious features and usages. Churches and chapels 
rise in our midst; religious pictures arc still to be seen in many 
homes; certain religious greetings still continue to be employed; 
Sunday is still kept as the day of rest; and there arc holy seasons. 
In forming the children's moral sense we can make use of the 
concept of home and country. This is where the children have 
their roots and to which their hearts are tied by a thousand ties ; 
it could be the means of leading them to God. Pious sayings, 
statues in church and monuments in cemeteries, and in Catholic 
lands, the wayside crucifix, in fact everything that has at any 
time become a personal experience for them can thence be made 
a double treasure for their spiritual life. 53 

52 See above, pp. 92 ff. 

53 See the suggestions for this in M. A. Gramlich, Gehct kin und lehret 



Nor should wc forget that nature is also revelation of God. 
The children should be made conscious of it not merely when 
the doctrine of creation or the attributes of God are discussed. 
Yet all generalizations which quickly become monotonous for 
the children should be avoided. It is better to use concrete details 
by means of which God's wisdom and His loving providence 
can be illustrated. For example, let the children consider the 
many uses to which the human hand may be put — from a table 
to a hammer and pincers. The eye may be compared to a 
camera, or a swallow or mosquito to an aeroplane. 54 If in doing 
this we and the children should arrive at the conclusion that 
there is evidence of careful planning, of thought, we would 
not only help them to become aware of the presence of God, but 
would supply them with a proof for the existence of a personal 
God. In the country especially, the catechist can make use of the 
children's contact with nature and bring them to a realization 
of God's proximity. 

The ascent to God, which nature suggests, is frequently 
threatened today by the advance of modern science, the servants 
of which are something filled with false pride or estranged from 
the totally different world of faith. We ought to attempt, 
therefore, to link science to the divine creator, a task which 
acquires special urgency when we deal with adolescents. In 

(Freiburg: Herder, 1949), pp. 37-39; A. N. Fuerst, op. cit., Vol. II (1946), 
pp. 204-207. 

54 In addition to works on the natural sciences we can find much 
material in T. Toth (S. Chapovich, trans.), God's Amazing World (New 
York: P. J. Kenedy, 1935); R. J. Southard, Almighty Magic (St. Paul: 
Catechetical Guild, 1943); T. A. Lahey, God's Amazing World (Notre 
Dame, Ind. : Ave Maria Press, n. d.) in twenty little pamphlets; Sr. M. 
Francesca, Our Lady's Garlande (London: Philip Allan, 1931); C. S. 
Cobb, God's Wonder World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1918), the work of 
a Protestant author, containing material that can be used to good 



principle this is not difficult. The desire to harness the world 
and its forces "in its roots and in its essence not evil, rather a 
divine urge implanted in man by the Creator Himself ... to 
permit him to experience personally and actively the divine 
joy in creation." 55 It may be more difficult to find a way to 
bring this home to the children. There are two different ways 
to integrate science into the Christian concept of the world: 
(1) it is God who endows nature with those powers which 
men are beginning to discover only today: chemical processes, 
various rays, atomic power. It is truly marvellous that man has 
made all these discoveries, but greater still is He who has 
constructed the world; (2) it is God who has implanted in man 
the mental powers, the desire to search and to investigate, the 
ability to find syntheses and to employ them for his own 
purposes. God has willed that man should exert his mental 
powers in order to make creation subservient to himself, to give 
his earthly existence a dignity commensurate with his human 
nature and thus to exercise his kingship over creation. "Thou 
hast put all under his dominion" (Ps. 8, 7). If science continues 
to advance, it will help us to realize God's plans for the world 
more perfectly. 

In this way the values of the natural world, too, placed in 
their proper context, can help greatly to re-enforce basic Christian 
attitudes: the consciousness of the presence of God, gratitude 
to God, finally love of God. 

6. Prayer and Training in Prayer 

That prayer has its part in catechesis is an old tradition, at least 
in the sense that the religious instruction period begins with a 
prayer and also ends with one. This practice is of course not 
unusual, for in the Austrian state schools, for example, a prayer 

55 D. Thalhammer, ZkTh, Vol. 74 (1952), p. 89. 



is prescribed for the beginning and for the end of each period. 
Such prayers are not without value. Apart from the value 
of every genuine prayer, the necessity of religion in education is 
stressed by it. If perhaps the catechist can suggest variations 
from time to time, such prayers will contribute greatly to 
teaching children how to pray. 

In catechesis proper prayer will have quite a different place. 
Catechesis should lead children to God. This guidance to God 
must always culminate in prayer. At different stages, therefore, 
prayer forms an important topic for catechesis. It is evident that 
the principal prayers, such as the Lord's Prayer, will be treated 
in special catecheses. The supreme form of prayer and of the 
liturgy, Holy Mass, will occupy the attention of the catechist 
repeatedly and for long periods of time. As in the catechism, 
a definite place will be allotted to lessons on prayer, in which 
the qualities of prayer are treated, including its possible forms 
from oral prayer to the more simple kinds of meditation. 

The catechist's task, however, is not thereby exhausted. 
Much more important than these details of the training in 
prayer is that every catechesis ought somehow to be trans- 
formed into a prayer. Prayer should not only be taught theoreti- 
cally, but also exercised in practice. In prayer (as in a religious 
hymn) we find a form of evaluation and application in which 
we link up with life not only in thought (as we arc accustomed 
to do when we compare moral and practice in an attempt to 
form the children's moral sense), but also in actual practice. This 
is, indeed, also the object of the secular subjects, for it repre- 
sents the most desirable form of application. A mathematical 
rule, for example, will be explained and then an example will 
illustrate the rule; a rule of syntax will be expounded and 
followed up immediately by practical examples. 

If in catechesis we advance from teaching to prayer, we shall 
have accomplished the task for which we were appointed. We 



shall have done what St. Augustine wanted us to do — to teach 
in such a way as to guide the listener from hearing to believing, 
from believing to hope, and from hope to charity. Faith, hope 
and charity are not so much special topics of catechesis, but 
aims towards which every catechesis should strive to attain. 
They represent spiritual attitudes which ought to result from the 
sum of our catechetical efforts. But faith, hope and charity are 
exercised in prayer, regardless of whether or not these theolo- 
gical virtues are expressly named as such. 

In the ancient Christian catechumenate each catechist ended 
with a prayer and with an imposition of hands by the catechist. 56 
Training in prayer is, therefore, not a mere point in a pro- 
gramme of religious education which is inserted somewhere in 
the teaching plan, one of many subjects to be dealt with, but 
a necessary element of any subject whatever it may be. 

The most favourable place to make this transition to prayer 
will, as a rule, be at the point at which the explanation has been 
completed and before entering upon the practical problems, 
which may indeed involve certain distractions, and perhaps 
before taking up the more prosaic formulation and discussion of 
the text to be learned by heart. 57 We may describe prayer as 
the principal form of deepening in catechesis. 

Prayer may be freely voiced in the catechist's own words, or 
it may be formal. It is important that the children experience 
how to speak to God freely, in their own words, in any given 

56 Hippolytus of Rome (d. 235), Apostolic Tradition (Dix, pp. 29f.). 
The imposition of the hand signified a blessing. Even today many priest 
catechists conclude their instruction with a priestly blessing. Whether 
this can be done with the proper reverence after every class depends to 
a great extent on circumstances. 

57 In France where the new catechetical movement equally emphas- 
izes the importance of prayer, it is frequently used in a subsequent lesson 
as a conclusion to the repetition of the topic, and before embarking on 
the, usually very brief, new lesson. A. Elchinger, "Moderne katholische 
Erziehung in Frankreich" in KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), p. 288. 



circumstances, and to learn to pray in this way. Children from 
Christian homes may sometimes come to us imagining that 
prayer is to repeat pious phrases. They have probably learned 
certain prayers by heart, but have not realized that one might 
also think about them, and be able to understand the words. 
The catechist should, therefore, never begin the practice of 
formal morning and evening prayers, nor even of saying the 
Lord's Prayer. Neither should he first start with the obligation to 
pray, but rather allow the most simple prayers to grow spon- 
taneously from his catechesis. 58 He may, for instance, have just 
finished telHng the children about the creation of the world. 
God's omnipotence having been considered the following 
prayer might result: "O great and almighty God, we praise Thee 
for having created the world." Or he might have told his 
class about the healing of a sick man by Jesus and pointed 
out that our Lord still restores health to sick souls. Such a 
prayer might result : "Lord, make our souls more healthy and 

Little children, who have, as yet, no inhibitions, might them- 
selves be encouraged to compose simple prayers, simply by 
being asked: "What have we learned about God? About our 
Lord Jesus Christ? How could we say this to Him?" 59 At other 
times he himself may, somewhat more extensively, formulate 
the prayers. The children should stand up, fold their hands, and 
remain silent for some moments — for prayer should spring 

58 Kl. Tilmann, " Gebetserziehung " in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 4 (1949), pp. 
529-551 ; idem, "Die Aufgabengebiete der Gebetserziehung" in KBl, Vol. 
75 (1950), pp. 314-323; Sr. M. Oliva, "Sister, Teach Us to Pray" in 
The Catholic Educator, Vol. 19 (1948/49), pp. 34-36; Sr. L. Agnes, "God 
Becomes Someone to Sally" in The Catholic Educator, Vol. 21 (1950/51), 
pp. 11-13. 

59 Tilmann, "Gebetserziehung" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 4 (1949), pp. 
533 f.; F. H. Drinkwater, Educational Essays (London: Burns, Oates, 
1951), pp. 374-377, 



from the realization that one is in the presence of God. 60 
The catechist should then recite the prayer. When praying he 
should not stand facing the children, nor should he lose sight of 
them. He might stand at the side of the room or in the middle 
of the class. When praying the children should be given an 
opportunity to participate, as in the liturgy, if only by a simple 
"Amen". A prayer in the form of a litany is very suitable, or, 
better still, a responsorial prayer, because it need not always 
be a prayer of petition. The catechist first recites the prayer, 
developing its thoughts in short paragraphs. The children then 
repeat it. 61 Thus in connection with a catechesis on divine 
providence, the catechist can compose a hymn to praise God 
for His benefits. Country children may have come to school 
through fields, or pass gardens filled with flowers. The cate- 
chist may recall briefly some of the blessings of springtime 
which God has sent us. He might begin: "O God, who has 
clothed the flowers with beauty, who has taught the birds to 
sing . . . ." and the children could answer his every invocation 
with an eulogy: "We praise and glorify Thee for this gift." 
Praise-passages in the Bible (for example, Dan. 3, 51-84) will 
thus take on a new significance. 

In a similar way the catechist can translate into prayer the 
themes of a great feast, or in the form of a repetition, the con- 

60 Under favourable circumstances the pause may last even a little 
longer. The practice of silence and exercises practised in silence were 
esteemed highly by Maria Montessori especially for religious education. 
The same holds true of the gestures and the postures of prayer; they 
should be carried out with reverence; cf. H. Lubienska de Lenval, "Das 
Gebet der Kinder" in KBl, Vol. 76 (1951), pp. 100-105; M. Montessori 
(A. E. George, trans.), The Montessori Method (New York: F. A. Stokes, 
1912), pp. 209-214. Father Gavan Duffy, the great Irish missionary, 
favoured such silences. 

61 Consult in the above the manner of teaching which St. Francis 
Xavier employed with the Paravas, pp. 252; Sr. M. Rosalia, The Adaptive 
Way (St, Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1955), pp. 162-164. 



tent of a section of the catechism. Again, we may translate into 
prayer form those parts of the catechism which are to be memo- 
rized, and which have to be explained. The prayer may be a 
simple expression of faith: "We firmly believe, O God, all 
Thou hast revealed to us, especially . . .", or it may be a plea: 
"O God, who hast revealed to us Thy commandment . . . help 
us to avoid all sins which are contrary to it." The children may 
also be led to translate into the "Thou" form portions from the 
new "lesson-unit" catechism, and in this way to create prayers 
for their own use. 62 

Original prayers in the classroom presuppose that the cate- 
chism has captured the attention of the children and has created 
something like an atmosphere of fervour, in any case a dis- 
position for prayer ; otherwise such prayers would appear to be 
artificial and could possibly do more harm than good. 

A prayer expressed in a set formula may be introduced more 
easily into the catechesis. Its very formula acts like a suit of 
armour, protecting prayer from desecration even though all 
the children do not participate with the desired reverence. 

The catechist will use in the relevant context prayers with which 
the children are more or less familiar, or which are known to 
them from Mass or liturgy. As a rule these prayers need not, 
in fact should not, be prayers which are intended only for 
children. When using these set texts the catechist should not 
require the children simply to learn them by heart. Insofar as 
an atmosphere of devotion has not already been created in the 
catechesis some short preparation will be desirable. As a rule the 

62 It is not recommended that the catechist permit the children to 
compose long prayers of their own and then to recite them before the 
whole class, because such compositions may easily become affected if 
made in the knowledge that they are to be held up to public criticism; 
cf. J. Gatz, Kinder rederi nrit Gott (Diilmen, 1938); A. N. Fuerst, op. cit., 
Vol. I (1939), pp. 455-456. 



catechist should use only a part of a prayer : one petition from 
the Lord's Prayer, a sentence or two from the Gloria, the 
Sanctus, the Angelus, or one verse from a hymn. These few 
words can be properly explained within the context in which 
they appear; they will become meaningful later. In any case, 
prayer texts which the children repeat from memory as a 
matter of habit (for example, a much used school prayer ; a 
prayer drawn from the liturgy) should again and again be 
explained by singling out particular phrases. The thoughtless 
repetition of the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary in rapid 
succession can be stopped by letting the children say the Lord's 
Prayer by itself, and even that should not be recited in its 
entirety, but sentence by sentence, in such a way that the 
catechist introduces each article with a few words of explana- 
tion, much in the manner of the sentence spoken before the 
Pater Noster in the Mass. 63 Dignity of bearing and clear 
enunciation of the words are important. Such a schooling in 
prayer should naturally be continued during the children's 
Mass and, when possible, also in special devotions for children. 
An hour in church, devoted to the children's pastoral care, is 
especially useful. 64 The forms of teaching bigger children, at the 
early stage of adolescence, how to pray, will have to be more 
restrained. The essential elements of Christian prayer and the prac- 

63 Concerning a personal experience of this kind, consult F. Dorfler, 
KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), p. 175; Sr. M. Rosalia, Child Psychology and Religion 
(New York: P. J. Kenedy, 1937), pp. 12-22. 

64 Within the catechesis itself we can choose any one of several ways 
of confiding to the children certain responsibilities in connection with 
prayer. We can, for example, in the month of October organize the 
"Living Rosary" : each day as catechists we assign to each one of five 
volunteers a decade of the Rosary to be recited that day. A special 
intention may be decided upon. Fathers Callan and McHugh, Our Lady's 
Rosary (New York: P. J. Kenedy, 1939), pp. 145-148, 157; Sr. M. 
Josephine, "A Rosary Rally" in The Catholic School Journal, Vol. 53 
(1953), pp. 249-250. 



tice of daily prayer will now have to be secured. The method of 
the "first five minutes" is recommended. 65 This is a loosely con- 
ducted special course which is intended to preserve, in spite of the 
storms and stress of later life, the link with God through prayer. 

Akin to prayer is the hymn. Indeed, it is only a freer form of 
prayer; free insofar as it is not so much concerned with man's 
direct relationship to God but with a poetical or musical medi- 
tation upon divine realities, and in an artistically elevated form, 
so that it is less dependent upon the spiritual preparation of the 
individual than prayer. It can, therefore, be placed either at the 
beginning or at the end of the religion period; but sometimes 
it may take the place of the actual prayer. 

In another aspect the hymn has values all its own. A hymn 
that is sung by all the children in common denotes a high degree 
of self-activity on their part. Because of its musical and poetical 
sound structure, and because it represents an achievement of 
their own, it is something which the children greatly enjoy. 
The devout sentiments which it expresses, and also the thoughts 
when they have been explained, will affect the singers. Indeed, 
these sentiments will be imprinted upon the memory more 
easily than by texts which have to be learnt by heart. 

The first objective which the catechist should have in mind 
when teaching a new hymn, is to give the children an introduc- 
tion to its principal thoughts. He may do this either by talking 
about its origin and connection with personal experience, or 
by taking up a meaningful phrase contained in it. He should not, 
however, venture upon an explanation of details that would 
pluck the text to pieces. 66 

65 Tilmann, " Gebetserziehung " inLumen Vitae, Vol. 4 (1949), pp. 538 f. 
More developed suggestions may be found in the work of the same 
author written especially for children: Kleine Schule des Gehetes (Freiburg: 
Herder, 1949). 

66 For the method to be employed, see pp. 189 f. More detailed 



Insofar as music practice is concerned, it is natural that hymns 
should have an important place in the school curriculum. In 
Catholic schools this will be self-evident, but it presupposes a 
previous agreement between the catechist and the music 
teacher. 67 But whatever the circumstances, the catechist should 
not forego fostering church music and hymns. If their time in 
school is fully taken up, those children who have a liking for 
music will gladly attend special practice sessions after school, 
especially if they are made attractive by distractions of various 
kinds, a story or something similar. These children will then 
have quite a considerable influence on the others in the religious 
period. Something might also be achieved by some regular 
pastoral hour and it is never a waste of time to do some singing 
even during the catechesis. The catechist might, during a free 
period, write out the text on the blackboard (which can after- 
wards be turned around) ; or he might distribute copies of the 
text. He might then sing the first verse alone — a piano or 
organ accompaniment is not necessary — and once more repeat 
half a verse. At the third attempt he will find that some of the 
more musical children will join in and at the fourth will have 
the whole class with him. 

For his choice of hymns the catechist should limit himself 

instructions may be found in Bopp, pp. 231 f.; Mayer, pp. 150L; J. J. 
Baierl, R. G. Bandas, et ah, Religious Instruction and Education (New 
York: J. F. Wagner, 1938), pp. 82-88. 

67 The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine began to collect material for 
a uniform hymnal at the Buffalo Congress, 1956. The majority of the 
dioceses have hymnals of their own choice. Training for singing is 
done within the standard course of study of the individual dioceses: G. 
Corrigan, "A Method of Teaching Music Reading" in The Catholic 
School Journal, Vol. 54 (1954), p. 238; Sr. Cecilia, "The Boy Choir in 
the Grade School" in The Catholic School Journal, Vol. 54 (1954), pp. 
249-250; Sr. M. Evangeline, "Music in Christian Education" in The 
Catholic School Journal, Vol. 55 (1955), pp. 331-334, to which a biblio- 
graphy on the subject is appended. 



to the diocesan hymnal, and, in certain instances, to the direc- 
tives which have been given either by the school superinten- 
dents, or are contained in the course of studies. 68 Because of the 
great fluctuations in population at the present time the children 
should be taught songs which are popular beyond the boun- 
daries of their own parish or diocese. 69 

Thus in catechesis, children ought to be brought closer to 
God, if not through formal prayer, then at least through sing- 
ing, and if possible, by both. Truly justifiable is the admonition 
given to catechists: "A supernatural truth which does not lead 
to a response of the heart, to prayer, or to action, has in a certain 
sense lost its sacred character for the children. The message of 
salvation will then have become simply a knowledge of material 
facts and will have lost its genuine religious value." 70 

7. Homework and the Work Book 
Application, reference back to life, is always the last step in 
catechesis. During the catechesis itself this reference to life can, 
it is true, only consist of various hints by which the catechist 
might outline the factors embodying his teaching, enumerating 
the occasions in which it should be followed; or lists exercises 

68 For the U. S. A. see also: Our Parish Prays and Sings. The Complete 
Parish Hymnal, edited by a committee of the National Catholic Music 
Educators Association of America (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical 
Press, 1959). 

69 In Germany: a few years ago due to an accord reached by diocesan 
delegates 73 hymns (texts and melodies) were prescribed for all the 
dioceses; in it are also contained all the important texts of the country; 
cf . Einheitslieder der deutschen Bistumer (with Notes) (Freiburg : Christo- 
phorus-Verlag, 1947); Die einheitlichen Gebete der deutschen Bistumer and 
die Einheitslieder (Cologne: Bachem, 1950). — In Austria there is the vol- 
ume: Die Einheitslieder der osterreichischen Bistumer (Salzburg: Institutum 
Liturgicum, 1952). Apart from the Singmessen there are 119 Church 
hymns and songs contained in it. Of these 37 agree with the songs 
selected for the German dioceses. 

70 Kl. Tilmann, KBl, Vol. 76 (1951), p. 294. 



in which one or other feature might be realized. An intimate 
contact between religion and life is, nevertheless, of extreme 
importance for the children. It is therefore important that 
application be extended whenever possible, by means of tasks 
which the children can finish at home. The modern "lesson 
unit" catechism offers many valuable suggestions for every 
lesson. For example, the children are directed to gather examples 
of a principle, or of a rule, from books which are on the book- 
shelves at home, or from their everyday environment. They 
might have to answer a question or to draw a picture; or to copy 
some sentences to be memorized. In such a way the children 
are encouraged — frequently they will do these things of their own 
accord — or at least stimulated to take an interest in their 
religion period even at home. If the tasks chosen are adapted to 
the children's mentality, and to their natural way of thinking, 
the content will be more indelibly impressed upon their me- 
mories. An excellent help for such homework is the work 
book. 71 By this we mean a note book which the children plan 
under the guidance of the catechist, and into which they might 
enter short summaries, noteworthy sayings and especially 
drawings. The work book is an aid w T hich was adopted by 
educationalists during the last few decades, first in the secular 
subjects and, later on, in the religion period, because it was 
felt that the children, at least in big cities, were rapidly losing 

71 V. M. Schumann, "Is Homework on the Decline?" in The Catholic 
Educational Review, Vol. 51 (1953), pp. 88-89; K. Frohlich, "Das Werk- 
heft imReligionsunterricht " in KBl, Vol. 66 (1 940), pp. 217-223 ; B. Bruck, 
" Hausauf gaben im Religionsunterricht " in KBl, Vol. 73 (1948), pp. 342 f. 
In several of the National Congresses of the Confraternity of Christian 
Doctrine work done by the children was put on display. The use of 
work books is recommended and it appears to be gaining adherents. F. H. 
Drinkwater, "Home Made Catechisms" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 5 (1950), 
pp. 41 7-425; F.J.Connell, "The Problem of Home Work" in The Catholic 
Educational Review, Vol. 45 (1947), pp. 605-610. 



their ability to concentrate and especially their capacity to 
retain anything they have acquired simply by listening. The 
thousand and one impressions to which they are exposed on the 
streets and in their homes explain this phenomenon. More 
frequently than formerly children need to be given visual 
aids. These aids arc all the more valuable if they come into 
being before the eyes of the children, and most effective when 
the children themselves have collaborated in their making, in 
the sense of the activity principle. This is the purpose of the work 
book. We have already mentioned that during the course of the 
catechesis the catechist would be well-advised to give a survey 
of the subject matter by means of some key words which he 
writes on the blackboard. Often this would be a forceful 
phrase or command, a resolution, a prayer; he may even offer 
a simple drawing. 

So far the children were obliged simply to be attentive, to 
listen, watch and to cooperate in the discussion with the cate- 
chist. Now, at the end of the lesson, they will have five to ten 
minutes to spare during which they may copy what is on the 
blackboard. They can do this quickly on rough paper or in a 
note book. Later they are given the task of carefully trans- 
ferring these jottings into their work books. 72 They are free to 
add details and to use coloured pencils. Texts may be copied as 
artistically as possible or be printed in block letters. A single 
page is devoted to each catechesis. 

On some other occassion the catechist might propose a 
question for homework. Its answer will also be entered into 
the work book. 73 These books will then be collected at the 

72 Because of sketches to be made the work book should not be too small 
and for the same reason the paper should be checked. 

73 A few examples are suggested in KBl, Vol. 72 (1947), p. 123; My 
night prayers? How do I observe Sundays? Why do I go to church every 
Sunday? How can I, a child, fulfill my obligation of love of neighbour 
at the present time? 



next lesson and briefly examined by the catechist. Work that 
has been particularly well done will receive praise. 

This method has the advantage that the children perform 
their tasks with more enthusiasm, and show pride in preparing 
beautiful work for the religious class. In doing this they will, 
at the same time, have learned the content of the lesson, and 
this much more thoroughly than by mere memorizing. Since 
in such books symbols express concisely the most central 
truths of religion, the children will thereby also become acquaint- 
ed with the symbolic language of ecclesiastical art, of church 
vestments, etc. The symbols for Christ which recur so fre- 
quently will help to strengthen the Christ-centred nature of the 
catechesis, and the knowledge that all salvation is from Christ. 
Moreover, as the experience of many catechists has confirmed, 
the work book has the further advantage that the parents will 
often be interested to see it. Sometimes they will ask their 
children to explain to them not only the meaning of the sayings 
and of the phrases, but also the significance of the drawings. 
In homes deprived of religion the children will thus infre- 
quently play the role of apostles to their own parents. In more 
favourable circumstances the parents might help their children 
and in this way they cooperate with the catechist and become 
his helpers; they take up again, as it were unwittingly, that 
catechetical duty of which they should never have lost sight. 
Such work books, moreover, will be guarded as precious 
treasures long after the children have left school. A supporter 
of the work book method has given the following example 
from his experience. 7 ' 1 

As basis for a catechesis on the living Church the words of Peter 
were used: "You, too, must be built up on him, stones that live and 

74 Frohlich, op. cit., in footnote No 71 ; as model consult the work of 
J. Goldbrunner, Dcr Sakramentenunterricht mit dem Werkheft (Munich: 
Kosel, 1950). 



breathe, into a spiritual fabric" (1 Pet. 2, 5). After a presentation in 
which he described the construction of a church from strong and 
durable stone blocks — in the course of which he drew a portion of 
a wall built up of bricks laid one upon the other — the catechist drew 
a parallel application between such an edifice and the living Church, 
and he utilized the image contained in Peter's words. To the follow- 
ing question: What do these stones drawn on the blackboard mean for 
the living Church? the ten year old children replied: "These are us." 
The catechist then wrote the Christian names of each child on the 
stones, which the children greatly enjoyed. 

The incidental story of a cathedral into whose sandstone founda- 
tions well-water had soaked, thereby threatening the entire structure, 
evoked as answer to the question: What does this water denote? This 
is sin. How the eyes of the youngsters shone as they made the resolution 
in common: we will always be healthy and useful stones in the living 
Church of Jesus Christ. The subsequent religion period began with 
the question: "Children where must I go to be able to see the living 
Church?" And with disarming pride they showed their work book 
with the drawing they had completed at home in which the various 
stones bore the name "Father" and "Mother" and the names of bro- 
thers and sisters, as well as those of their school friends. (Their own first 
names occupied the most important places.) The exhortation addressed 
to the children to show on the following Sunday that they were living 
stones brought more than a fifty percent response in assistance at the 
parish Mass and in the reception of Holy Communion. Only those 
who saw the children could know how much this recognition had been 
deepened by the use of the work book. 

8. Memorizing 

Despising, as we might, any mere memory exercise method, we 
cannot entirely dispense the children from learning a certain 
number of texts by heart. Learning by heart was at one time 
the only homework which the children were called upon to 
perform; even now it must not be the least important thing 
they should be requested to do. It certainly must not be allowed 
to disappear entirely. 

Catholic Christianity is not a matter of mere emotional 
experience, but is in its essence an unequivocal message, an 



objectively valid doctrine, presented in clear notions. For this 
reason the Church of the early centuries demanded from each 
candidate for Baptism a definite profession of faith in the content 
of Christian teachings, as well as the acquisition, in terms of 
memory, of the most important dogmas which are contained 
in the Apostles' Creed. On the subject of the extent and the 
choice of catechetical material to be learned by heart there are, 
it is true, several different viewpoints. These should, however, 
be reconcilable by adopting a middle course, if some distinc- 
tions are made. 

"We must, first of all, determine what is really necessary. In 
certain subjects, for example, biblical catechesis, it is sufficient 
if the children understand the matter without being required 
to retain them in a definite word formula. This applies especially 
to the narrative parts of the Bible. The children should be able 
to recount what happened. It may even be enough, for 
instance, when dealing with enumerations, to remember certain 
key words ; but were it a question of explaining certain simple 
concepts, for example, the attributes of God, it is more im- 
portant to clarify the matter itself and bring it closer to the hearts 
of the children (God's omnipotence, omnipresence, eternity) than 
to instil definitions into them. In any case, if known by heart, 
a verse from a hymn, a passage from the Bible or liturgy, in 
which the same idea is expressed in terms of praise, is a 
satisfactory substitute for an important text to be learned 
from the catechism. 

The catechist will demand literal renderings of certain 
statements or formulas which are important for the under- 
standing of a dogma, as for example, Christ both God and man, 
Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, the assumption of Mary into 
heaven, body and soul, conditions for Papal infallibility, and 
kindred subject matter. In any case, the old basic formulas of 
the catechism: the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten 



Commandments, the Seven Sacraments, must be made the 
lasting possession of the children. 75 In order to assure himself 
that the children have not learned them parrot-fashion, but 
that they also understand their meaning, the catechist should 
from time to time call upon the children to write them down 
as they have learned them — there will almost always be surprises. 

We have thus fixed the minimum limit of what is to be 
memorized. In favourable, and also in normal circumstances, 
much more should be required. The questions and answers 
printed in bold type in the English translation of the German 
catechism serve this purpose: not so much is demanded today 
as formerly. In addition, texts taken from the Bible, verses 
from the Psalms, messianic prophecies, the words of Christ, 
especially verses from the Sermon on the Mount, should be 
given to the children at least as voluntary tasks. The same 
applies to certain well-known hymns which, once committed 
to memory, remain a valued possession for life. Learning by 
heart of well-formulated texts will also promote clarity 
of knowledge, and help the children to be more serious. It is not 
too much of a burden for the less gifted ones. 

If possible the catechist should do everything to facilitate 
memory work. Whatever the method used, the questions and 
answers to be learned by heart should be previously worked 
through, and some of the words noted on the blackboard. 
The finished sentence should be recited first of all by the cate- 
chist, then repeated by a child, and finally, perhaps by the 
whole class. Such a chorus is a useful and lively method, at 
least in the case of the smaller children. 

Again, especially when dealing with lengthy excerpts to be 
memorized, the catechist will let the children open their books 
and read the text; anything that may be outside the present 

75 Cf. above, pp. 165f. the remarks which were made about the funda- 
mental catechism. 



instruction can be explained briefly. 76 The catechist should 
never expect the children to learn by heart texts that have not 
been sufficiently explained to them, and have not, therefore, 
been understood. 

Repetition gives the children mental help to retain the 
essentials. This should take place at least once in a subsequent 
lesson. It should not consist simply in asking questions which 
have been put previously nor should it be restricted scrupulously 
to the matter that has been treated in the previous period. 
From time to time general repetition will be desirable, but this 
should not be a mere repetition of words, but always also of 
the matter. This can be accomplished by not adhering too 
slavishly to the order of questions and answers as arranged in the 
textbook, by presenting a new point of view, by formulating 
the questions differently, and by proposing new questions. 
A new example, a fuller explanation or application will also 
serve the same purpose. In the later classes the repetition may 
occasionally take the form of an essay, to be set either as 
homework or in class. 77 

Of especial importance is the so-called immanent repetition, 
where the catechist repeats the subject matter without the 
children being aware of it. He can do this by recalling related 
topics which he has treated previously and by adding to them. 
In the course of the catechism instruction he will thus recall 
biblical events as these are suggested by the catechism lesson. 
In biblical catechesis the opposite procedure will be adopted. 
Episodes from the Old Testament illustrate the attributes of 
God, the miracles of Jesus symbolize the effects of the sacra- 

76 Cf. Mayer, pp. 101 f.; K. Cronin, Teaching the Religion Lesson 
(London: Paternoster Publications, 1952), p. 30. 

77 V. Keller, "Die Methodik, X. Die Ubungs- und Repetitionskate- 
chese" in Grundfragen der Katechetik, Vol. I (Wien, 1912), pp. 43-48. 



A special form of repetition are religious tests which, accord- 
ing to accepted usage, are held more or less formally at the end 
of the term. In Continental countries such examinations serve 
as an opportunity for the Bishop's representative or for the 
inspector to observe the progress made in catechetical work. On 
account of the dignity of the subject matter the test ought not 
to range over too many points or to display feats of memorizing 
on the part of certain children, but rather deal with related points 
and aim at some deeper insight that will add to the children's 
enjoyment, and reduce the examination fever. At the same time 
the catechist has a chance of proving his own sincerity by not 
just asking for outwardly brilliant performances, and of showing 
his sense of justice by letting the more backward children 
also make their modest contribution. In all this the catechist 
should, however, guard against the self-deception that successful 
examinations also mean that he himself has thereby fulfilled his 
essential task, which, ultimately, is religious education. 

An unpleasant duty of the catechist in our school 
instructions is the giving of marks for religious doctrine. 
Religious knowledge alone can be judged and measured; 
religious conduct should be considered only in border-line 
cases. The catechist should, in his assessment, be inclined to 
leniency, especially in the case of the less talented, but zealous 

9. The Pastoral Hour for Children 

An important means of extending the step of application and 
of bringing religion and life into the closest possible union, is 
the so-called * 'Pastoral Hour" for children. This corresponds, in 
the case of the older children and of adolescents, to the "Hour 
of Faith". Both originated in Germany and Austria during 
the persecution of Christianity under the Third Reich, when 
catechesis in the schools was frequently obstructed or stopped 



altogether, or imparted by teachers not having the approval of 
the Church. In this emergency, some priests transferred cate- 
chesis to the churches and fostered there what had become 
impossible: the introduction to religious practice and religious 
practice itself; preparation for the feasts of the Church and for 
the reception of the sacraments, active assistance at Mass, the 
"Community Mass", practice in singing, explanations of 
prayers, devotional exercises, and so forth. 78 

The experiences which were thereby gained were so favour- 
able, that the weekly "Pastoral Hour" and the "Faith Hour" were 
continued in most places after the restoration of catechetical 
instruction in schools, and frequently also prescribed by the 
ecclesiastical authorities. Although school catechesis will also be 
concerned with pastoral work for children, these new "Hours" 
can concentrate on purely pastoral matters, since the imparting 
of knowledge is catered for elsewhere. 

In the larger cities where the school district and the parish 
boundaries never coincide, this arrangement has the advantage 
of restoring and strengthening the links with the parish. Of 
course, it is never possible to get all the children together at any 
one time, 79 but it is already an advantage to gather a fairly 
large core, and to guide it to a deeper religious practice. There 
will always be the hope that this group may influence the more 
inert majority. 

The addition of this practical course to school catechesis is 
especially important wherever the number of religion periods is 

78 An elaborate programme for this practical course in religion with 
concrete details and suggestions may be found in H. Horle, "Die Kinder- 
seelsorgestunde " in Seelsorge im Aufbau, Vol. 3 (1941), pp. 71-84. 

79 In the cities of Austria 25% is vouched for as average attendance. 
See the statistics that were compiled by L. Lentner, ChPBl, Vol. 65 
(1952), pp. 99f. On the other hand such a flourishing parish as St. Cani- 
sius in Vienna reports an average of 73%: 800 children divided into 19 
groups and into 3 sections for servers. 



strictly limited, as it is, for example, in Austria, and where these 
periods must be held in the rarefied atmosphere of the "neutral" 

The favourable results produced by the "Pastoial Hour" are not 
least conditioned by the fact that it is attended on a voluntary 
basis. In the eyes of the children this adds to the attraction ; on 
the other hand, the undesirable element stays away of its own 
accord. This does not mean, however, that the priest need not 
undertake extensive canvassing for it, by announcements from 
the pulpit, handbills, family visits (a task for lay helpers), and 
especially by arranging meetings for the parents with children 
of school age. 80 The religion hour should, of course, be its own 
best advertisement. The parish should provide a suitable room, 
that is, one combining a friendly and religious atmosphere. If 
possible, it should be reminiscent of home. Religious pictures 
on the walls might commemorate the different seasons of the 

The attractiveness of this practical course is also enhanced 
by the fact that it need not be concerned with actual instruction 
and with the laborious task of learning the catechism. Its domain 
is life itself, liturgical life in the widest sense, perhaps also the 
consideration of biblical topics, but not as in school but rather 
in connection with the liturgy of Sundays and holy days. For 
instance, the gospel of the Sunday just past might be examined. 
Visual aids will be frequently used. What is to be learned will 
actually be learned and practised immediately on the spot. 
The lives of the saints, incidents in the history of the Church, 
examples of everyday life, religious practices, acquaintance with 
the religious history of one's own country, besides prayers and 
hymns, can provide ample variety. 

80 J. Franzl, ChPBl, Vol. 64 (1951), p. 205. "The monthly meetings 
of parents are the best means of encouraging the growth of this practical 
course in religion." 



It should be evident that this "Pastoral Hour" need not be 
conducted by the priest or by the catechist who normally teaches 
the children. Indeed it offers a wide field for lay catechists and other 
helpers in the parish. In all this it is still possible and to a certain 
extent desirable that those in charge might coordinate this 
religious hour with the compulsory catechesis in school in as 
natural a fashion as possible, so that what the latter can only 
initiate in the step of application, the former can extend in 
reality. 81 

10. Conditions for Successful Catechesis. Discipline 

The best catechetical method is, in order to achieve its true 
purpose, tied to the condition that the children are receptive 
and that their acceptance of the word of God is not marred by 
any disorder. Receptivity will largely be conditioned by the 
kind of place in which the catechesis is given and by the choice 
of time. The children should, above all, be comfortable. In gen- 
eral, the classrooms used for catechesis fulfil the spatial and physical 
requirements but their bareness makes an unfavourable impres- 
sion in other respects. If, as is the case in some, countries, the 
last period of a rather full day is devoted to catechesis, when the 
children will already be tired, there should be a suitable break 

Another condition is that the catechist by his general manner 
shall have succeeded in winning the confidence and the love of 
the children. A careless and indifferent attitude or, at the opposite 
extreme, a blustering manner, from the start precludes any 
genuine results. The catechist should try hard to avoid displays 
of depression or fatigue, as we have already pointed out. 82 

81 Such a coordination by grace of which, for example, catechesis 
on the Bible may be inserted into the context of the ecclesiastical or 
liturgical year, is provided for in Syllabus for the Diocese of Paderborn; 
for a survey, consult O. Hilker, KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), pp. 233-239. 

82 See above, pp. 71 f. 



It is, moreover, necessary to prevent any likely disturbance 
during the instruction. Children are full of life and even a fly 
on the wall can distract them. The best way to ensure attention 
is a lesson so interesting that it will hold them spellbound. If 
his choice of words is uncertain and his language colourless, or 
he degenerates into generalities which are meaningless for the 
children, they will quickly turn their attention to other matters 
and disorder will ensue. This will be no more than the children's 
self-defence against the failure of the catechist. A careful pre- 
paration for each catechesis is, therefore, the best guarantee 
of attention and order. 

Yet even the most zealous and skilled catechist will not 
be able to keep the attention of children always at a high pitch, 
especially if, as is often the case, in catechism-catechesis they 
cannot be spared some strenuous mental work. Moreover, 
among the children, there are always some thoughtless and 
fickle elements, and perhaps others who, as a result of difficult 
conditions at home, over-exertion or undernourishment, cannot 
give their undivided attention. The catechist should know how 
to maintain discipline in his class. The first few periods of 
catechesis at the beginning of the school year may often be 
decisive for good order in the classroom during the entire 
year. The catechist should choose a place in the classroom from 
which he can watch all the children constantly, he should not 
move about too much. He should speak clearly and distinctly, 
without haste and nervousness. If there is disorder, he should 
try to control it by exercising, only sparingly, the authority 
at his disposal, especially for the sake of the sacred topics with 
which he is dealing. If one look or a meaningful pause in the 
course of the instruction is enough, he should refrain from 
using words. If a word, an exclamation or the mentioning of a 
name suffices, he should refrain from admonition. To make 
the offender stand up for a time or send him to another seat in 



the classroom should, as a rule, be regarded as extreme measures. 
The catechist should exclude any kind of corporal punishment; 
in the case of girls there should be absolutely no exception 
from this rule. In cases of severe lapses in discipline the catechist 
should see to it that the parents are informed. With older 
children a private talk will often suffice to bring the offender 
to see the light. 

If punishments are to be administered sparingly, rewards 
should not be wasted either. Not every good effort deserves 
to be recompensed, for in the classroom as in later life, doing 
our duties to God and man should be considered a matter of 
course. A satisfied glance, sometimes a word of praise, should be 
sufficient. In exceptional cases, chiefly with smaller children or 
on some special occasion, the catechist may award a holy 
picture or other prize. 83 If in certain places it is a custom to 
bestow a devotional book or a fitting object at the end of the 
school year, or at graduation, this should be considered rather 
as a continuation of the catechesis than as a reward, and will, of 
course be looked upon with approval. 

83 On this subject of discipline, look up the practical recommendations 
which are made in K. Buerschaper, "Nebensachliclikeiten" in KBl, Vol. 
74 (1949), pp. 243-245; F. J. Sheed, Are We Really Teaching Religion? 
(New York: Sheed & Ward, 1953), p. 7; J. B. Collins, op. cit., pp. 



1, The Religious Guidance of Small Children 

The religious care of small children who are not old enough to 
attend school is, it is true, not the concern of the catechist, but 
the person entrusted with the care of souls should see to it 
whether and how the parents fulfill their obligations of religious 
education. 1 

The baptized child is indeed a Christian. The life of grace 
which was bestowed upon him at Baptism cannot as yet be 
lost, but in order to develop properly and to strengthen the 
forces which protect it no less care is needed than for the physical 
life. Such care need not await the time when the mental faculties 
of the child arc first in evidence; his early years are extremely 
important for the formation of his character and indirectly 

1 Archconfraternity of Confraternity of Christian Mothers, Manual of 
Directors and Officers (rev. 5th ed.; Pittsburgh: National Office, 1952). 
This Archconfraternity has its own organ: The Catholic Home (Pitts- 
burgh: National Office). Consult the articles which are in Part II, Lumen 
Vitae, Vol. 7 (1952), pp. 239-282. There is also the Parent-Educator 
group, a segment of the Archconfraternity of Christian Doctrine, which 
from time to time issues material through Confraternity Publications 
(Paterson, N. J.). There are several fair-sized pamphlets written for pre- 
school children, to which reference has already been made, cf. above, 
p. 44, note 87. Further material may be consulted: K. B. Byles, Religion 
in the Home (For Elementary School Children) and idem, Religion in the 
Home (For the Pre-School Child), both published by the Paulist Press, 
New York; D. A. Lord, The Guidance of Parents (St. Louis: Queen's 
Work, 1944); C. Burns, Your Modern Children (London: Burns, Gates & 
Washbourne, n.d.); E. G. Geissler, You and Your Children (Chicago: 
Fides, 1956). 



also for his future attitude to religion. 2 For at this stage certain 
attitudes are formed which later can be the basis of some lack of 
restraint, obstinacy, and selfishness, or of a good and orderly 
life, and also of the right attitude towards God in reverence and 
loving obedience. 3 Though the child is dependent upon the 
warmth of a mother's love in order to develop soundly, yet 
he should learn early on that he is part of an established order and 
should not be spoiled by the satisfaction of unreasonable wishes. 

The first steps in religious education too, will be taken much 
less by words than by the influence of a well-integrated environ- 
ment, by the whole atmosphere of a Christian family. The 
mother will talk to the child in any case, pray with him, answer 
his questions and also tell him about God who created every- 
thing, about the Child Jesus and Mary, his Mother, and about 
the Guardian Angels. Knowing her child she will treat him 
accordingly, correct him firmly but without severity when he 
has misbehaved, and accustom him to obedience, modesty and 
sincerity from the very beginning. 

But of much greater importance in these years is the education 
which he receives from the environment in which he grows up, 
and from the impressions which he gathers every day. Thus 
the style of the house and the living conditions are of the utmost 
importance. If cleanliness and order prevail there, these will 
strike a corresponding note in his own soul. It matters a great 
deal in the religious education of the child whether the decora- 
tions in the home include anything of a religious nature, per- 
haps a little altar, or a holy water stoup on the bedroom wall. 

2 R. Allers (Abridgement of Vera Barclay), Practical Psychology in 
Character Development (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1934), especially 
pp. 40-45. 

8 M. Pfliegler, Der rechte Augenblick (5th ed.; Vienna: Herder, 1948), 
pp. 27-57. — A. Wallenstein, Kindheit und Jugend ah Erziehungsaufgahe 
(Freiburg: Herder, 1951). In this we can find a chapter on the prenatal 
formation of children. 



In addition it will be relevant whether the day to day life of 
the family includes prayer in common, if not in the morning at 
least at table and in the evening. It is important that the mother 
should pray with the little child when he gets up and when he 
goes to bed. The children should become acquainted with the 
holy days as well as with Sundays. Something of the rhythm 
of the sacred year should find its way from the church into the 
home: the crib at Christmas, the palms on Palm Sunday, the 
easter egg. All this presupposes that the household and the 
parents are pervaded by a Christian spirit, that parents should 
be aware of their responsibilities for the religious education of 
the children; they are their first catechists. 

Thus the pastoral care of the small child is essentially linked 
with the pastoral care of the whole family and especially of 
the mother. If the child grows up in a truly Christian family, 
and from the very beginning adapts himself to a Christian 
order of life; if from the very beginning he understands as a 
matter of course that man has not been created to enjoy life 
but to serve God, he will not indeed be dispensed from making 
a definite decision later on but he will have been helped con- 
siderably, and will have been given a precious religious invest- 
ment for life. 

Today a great majority of the children in big cities may 
spend the years before starting school in a kindergarten. From 
what we have just said it should be evident that it is not a 
matter of indifference what kind of an atmosphere prevails in 
such pre-school institutions. 

The Catholic kindergarten should achieve in a more con- 
scious and orderly fashion what the Catholic parents have 
given the child hitherto. But religion in the kindergarten should 
not become formal instruction. 4 Such instruction would not 

4 In the ChPBl, Vol. 63 (1950), pp. 18-20, there was published a 
"Vorschlag zu einem religiosen Arbeitsplan im Kindergarten" with an 



correspond to the mental development of the three to five- 
year-old child. It would be as premature as reading and writing 
and would as a rule be more harmful than useful. At this sensi- 
tive age religion would be looked upon as something contrary 
to their nature. Even Bible stories in narrative form would not 
be suitable. The child should become acquainted with his reli- 
gion and with the forms of the Catholic faith as he would with 
life in his environment. All teaching should be given inciden- 
tally and without compulsion. There need not as yet be a well- 
rounded idea of the world. He need not understand that Jesus 
is the Son of God or that the Saviour has redeemed us on the 
cross. 5 But he should be taught to fold his hands reverently 
before the crucifix. He ought to sense something of the rhythm 
of religious life, greeting our heavenly Father at the beginning 
of the day, know what Sunday is and that throughout the year 
there are many holy days. But over-saturation with religion 
should be avoided. The small child should first be allowed to 
grow into the natural order which surrounds him, rejoice in 
grass and flowers, light, water, animals and birds, and all the 
figures of fairyland. Only then, and as a complement to our 

outline of definite topics (simple prayers and hymns, the most important 
events in the Bible) which kindergartens should teach their children in the 
form of impromptu talks gradually, week after week, on notable feast days , 
e. g., Christmas, Epiphany. This caused some after-thoughts to be 
voiced (O. Etl, he. tit., pp. 86f., and Johanna Huber, he. cit., p. 150). 
Kindergarten Committee, The Catholic Kindergarten: A Curriculum 
Guide (New York: W. H. Sadlier, 1948), pp. 19-58, deals with religion. 
Controversial points are avoided. In France, C. Boyer in his article in 
Pedagogie chretienne, Vol. I (1947), p. 177, objected strenuously to several 
points in this programme, Formation chretienne des tout-petits, because in 
it the natural teacher of the child was encouraged to speak to these young 
children of sin, confession and Holy Communion as well as the Mass. 
The articles in Parent Educator, above p. 44, avoid some of these pitfalls. 
5 The parents should not tell the child — as happened in the past — 
that the ''heavenly Father" hung on the cross, because such an idea is 



colourful world, should he be told about God who has made 
all things and loves us very much. 

If the priest makes a personal appearance in the kindergarten 
or if some pastoral occasion should bring him there — perhaps 
the blessing of homes on the feast of the Epiphany- — he should 
remember that this meeting may have for most of the children 
the significance of an important event. 

The child enters school normally about the age of six. This is 
an important stage in his life. For many children it may be 
the first time that they have been away from the family. In 
any case a new world opens for them. The age of play has 
ended, the time for serious work has begun. It has, therefore, 
been suggested by a German catechist, Linus Bopp 6 that their 
first day should be celebrated with a children's Mass, similar 
to that Mass which is already frequently offered on the day 
when they leave school. This Mass might be given a special 
form; the children accompanied by their mothers could form 
a procession in which the godparents might also assist. In place 
of the Communion Prayer at the end of Mass the celebrant 
could give the liturgical blessing for children, or this blessing 
alone could be the focal point of a more simple celebration. 
Soon after the beginning of school the catechist makes, for the 
first time, his appearance before the beginners. In some country 
districts, where the priest generally is the religious teacher, the 
children will already know him. In any case, he should seek, 
from the beginning, to gain their confidence, beginning his 
instruction with that stock of religious truth which they have 
known from their homes and thus lighten the difficult transition 
from the family circle to life in school. 7 

It is evident that during the years of the catechesis which are 

6 Bopp, pp. 286f. 

7 About the subject matter of catechesis in the first and subsequent- 
years, see pp. 1581". 



now beginning the religious warmth of the home will continue 
to form their basic support. Even if parents cannot follow the 
course of the catechesis step by step, the children should be 
made to feel that their further religious training is a matter of 
deep concern to the parents. If occasionally father or mother 
would discuss with the child any topic from the Bible, or a 
catechism question, and talk about it, or at least show some 
interest in the homework, they would contribute towards this 
accord. 8 For Catholic children the normal order of school life 
should be one which benefits a baptized child, and which con- 

8 Mother M. Bolton, God's Hour in the Nursery : I. Guidance Book and 
II. Activity Book (Patcrson: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1946); Sister 
Mary, et al., The Catholic Mother's Helper (Paterson, N. J. : St. Anthony 
Guild Press, 1948); Sr. M. Marguerite, Their Hearts Are His Garden 
(Paterson, N. J.: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1946); M. L. Coakley, Our 
Child . . . God's Child (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1953). — In Germany: Marie 
Schlumpf, Religionsbiichlein (6th ed.; Freiburg: Herder, 1942) (instructions 
in very simple form on how to teach children) ; Elisabeth Kotter, Weg 
des Kindes zu Gott (3rd ed.; Freiburg: Herder, 1949) (with many practical 
examples culled from attempts to educate children in the family); 
Fr. Schneider, Katholische Familienerziehung (6th ed.; Freiburg: Herder, 
1957), especially the chapter on the religious education of the child (pp. 
172-198). For the very young there are the many religious picture books 
for children: These are abundant in the U.S.A. and only a few can be 
mentioned: Sr. M. Juliana, Listen to God (St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 
1953) ; D. A. Lord, The Friends of Jesus (New York : Devotional Publishing 
Co., 1943); J. Bedier, Jesus Comes For Everybody (New York: Garden 
City, 1948); Bishop Morrow, My Jesus and I (Kenosha, Wis.: My 
Mission House, 1949); G. A. Hogarth, A Bible ABC (New York: F. C. 
Stokes, 1941); C. Beebe, The Story of Mary: The Mother of Jesus 
(Milwaukee: Bruce, 1950); Father Brennan, Tales for Tiny Tots (Mil- 
waukee: Bruce, 1954); G. M. Dennerle and Sr. M. Magdala, Jesus 
Shows Me the Way (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1955); F. McGrade, The Rosary 
(St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1952); Father Gales, A First Book of Saints 
(St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1953).— In Germany: Mittelstedt-Kabelka, 
Wort Gottes fur die Kleinen (Wien: 1948); Weigl-Zinkl, Bilderbuch vom 
lieben Gott; Bilderbuch von Gottes Heiligen; Bilderbuch vom gottlichen Hei- 
land (all from Freiburg: Herder, 1939-1956). 



tinues uninterruptedly the religious education that was begun 
in the home. It is wrong, therefore, when Catholic children are 
forced to attend neutral schools where the divorce between 
religion and life has become an unholy principle. 9 The dis- 
advantage for the child is all the greater when the family 
looks upon such a state of affairs as normal because religion 
has become a dead letter to it. The task of the catechist in such 
circumstances is made infinitely difficult. 

2. The Age for First Communion 

Having discussed the subject matter of catechesis in the various 
stages of the school as well as the biblical and catechism- 
catechesis methods, we need not deal with the general cateche- 
tical treatment of the various age levels within the school year. 
But the preparation for the sacraments and the sacramental and 
iturgical life has to be considered specially. In fact we 
might ask whether this is not the chief task of the catechist and 
whether our disregard of it hitherto could not be regarded as 
an indication of intellectualism not as yet overcome. Actually 
in the section of Canon Law devoted to De catechetica insti- 
tutione (can. 1329-1336) catechesis on the sacraments is accorded 
the most prominent place. Besides the question, who is com- 
petent to impart catechesis, and the question regarding 
Christian teaching for adults, canons 1330 and 1331 only concern 
the catechesis for children. Of these, the first deals with the pre- 
paration for the reception of the sacraments; the second reminds 
the priest to extend his catechesis for the children after their 
first Communion. The decree of Pope St. Pius X 10 has created 

9 American Council on Education, The Function of the Public School in 
Dealing With Religion (Washington: American Council on Education, 
1953); F. E. Johnson, American Education and Religion (New York: 
Harper Bros., 1952). 

10 The decree Quam singulari (August 10, 1910), AAS, Vol. II 



an entirely new attitude, the catechetical effects of which have 
not as yet been everywhere fully considered. 

In order to understand the problem which it poses, it would 
be useful to look at history and consider the many possible so- 
lutions. 11 In the early Church it was customary for the children 
to receive Communion with the same naturalness and unaffect- 
edness with which all the faithful received the sacrament, if not 
every day then at least every time when they attended Mass. 

Even at Baptism the child received Communion under the 
species of wine. Communion at Baptism lasted in the Western 
Church until well into the twelfth century. 12 In the East the 
practice continues to this day, also in some Uniate com- 
munities. 13 It followed from this practice that children were 

(1910), pp. 577-582. A commentary on this decree was written by the 
then Secretary of the Congregation of the Sacraments, D. Jorio, II decreto 
"Quam singular i" sull'eta richiesta per la prima communione (Roma: Marietti, 
1928); J. T. McNicholas, "The First Communion Decree" in American 
Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 44 (Jan., 1911), p. 77; F. M. de Zulueta, Early 
First Communion (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1911). 

11 L. Andrieux, La premiere communion. Histoire et discipline (Paris: 
Beauchesne, 1911); J. Baumgartler, Die Erstkommunion der Kinder 
(Munich: Kosel und Pustet, 1929). A good conspectus is offered by 
M. Waldmann, "Neue Forschungsergebnisse zur Geschi elite der Kinder- 
kommunion" in Theologie und Glaube, Vol. 22 (1930), pp. 273-290. 
Furthermore, the chapter, rich in content, in P. Browe, Die Pflicht- 
kommunion im Mittelalter (Minister, 1940), pp. 128-184; idem, Die 
haufige Kommunion im Mittelalter (Minister, 1938). 

12 To answer Baumgartler's doubts whether Holy Communion at 
Baptism was customary before the time of St. Augustine, cf. J. A. Jung- 
mann, ZkTh, Vol. 54 (1930), pp. 627 f. Remnants of Communion at 
Baptism have been preserved down to our day: the popular custom 
which is connected with it, namely, immediately after Baptism to pour a 
drop of wine into the child's mouth is in vogue among the Slo- 
venians in Carinthia and in Champagne even today ; see references to 
this in J. A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, 2 vols. (New York: 
Benziger Bros.), Vol. II (1955), pp. 413-414, footnote 47. 

13 H. A. Heiser, Die Kinderkommunion im Geiste der Kirche, Vol. I 



given Holy Communion occasionally at other times also, 14 
at least when they were older. 15 If after the celebration of Mass 
many consecrated Hosts were left over, the celebrant called 
the children and gave them the Sacrament, as accounts from 
the East as well as from Gaul inform us. 16 

Towards the end of Christian antiquity the practice of receiv- 
ing Communion underwent a change. At the Synod of Agde 
(506) the faithful had to be urged to receive Communion at 
least three times each year. The emphasis on receiving the 
Sacrament with the greatest reverence, which began about the 
eleventh century, gradually influenced the Communion of 
children. It was beginning to be thought better to wait until 
the children could understand what they received. The Fourth 
Lateran Council (1215) was the decisive landmark, for it laid 
down that the obligation to go to Confession at least once a 

(4th ed.; Wiesbaden: Hermann Rauch, 1931), pp. 25-31. In 1741 a 
Capuchin father attempted quietly to drop the custom which he had 
encountered among the Coptic Christians, but he was warned and 
prohibited from continuing to do so by the Holy Office. This decision 
has been in force ever since; cf. Andrieux, op. tit., pp. 73-77. 

14 Cyprian, De lapsis, c. 25 (CSEL 31, p. 255); cf. F. J. Dolger, Ichthys, 
Vol. II (Minister, 1922), pp. 524 ff. 

15 In the 12th century, scholars defended the theory that Communion 
at Baptism satisfied the obligation of children for two to four years (hence, 
not for any longer time); cf. A. Landgraf, in ZkTh, Vol. 66 (1942), 
p. 127. Examples of Communion received by children without first 
going to Confession, cf. P. Browe, Die Pflichtkowmanion im Mittelalter, 
pp. 143 f. L. Eisenhofer, Handbuch der katholischen Liturgik, 2 vols. (Frei- 
burg : Herder, 1933), Vol. II, pp. 301 f . For practices among the Orientals, 
cf. Baumgartler, op. tit., pp. 94-100. Heiser, op. tit., Vol. I, pp. 28-30. 
Among the Non-Uniate Copts the children form today at least half of 
those who receive Holy Communion. They go to Communion until 
the years of discretion without first going to Confession; cf. Cl. Kopp, 
Glaube and Sakramente der koptischen Kir die (Rom, 1932), p. 145; compare 
p. 158. 

16 J. A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, Vol. II (1955), pp. 
407 f. and also footnote No. 7. 



year and to receive Communion at Easter, should begin with 
the "years of discretion" (anni discretionis)} 1 

What was meant by the "years of discretion" ? This question 
has received its definitive answer only in recent times. 18 At the 
time of the Lateran Council theologians meant the age at which 
the child was able to decide between good and bad in moral and 
intellectual matters to the extent of being doli cap ax, "capable 
of deceit". 

This was understood at the time as the capacity to commit 
a mortal sin. According to our notions it would suggest a rather 
advanced age. Theologians and canonists of that era, which 
knew so little about psychology, almost unanimously — a certain 
Gandulph (c. 1170) appears to be the only exception — held the 
view that this capacity for deceit was already present with the sev- 
enth year. For this reason they took the decree of the Council to 
mean that the obligation to go to confession begun at that time, 19 

17 Can. 21 (Denzinger ct ah, n. 437): Omnis utriusque sexus fidelis, 
postquam ad annos discretionis pervenerit, omnia sua solus peccata saltern semel 
in anno fideliter confiteatur proprio sacerdoti . . . suscipiens reverenter ad minus 
in Pascha Eucharistiae sacr amentum. 

18 Consult the conspectus of the controversy in Waldmann, he. cit., 
pp. 275 ff. — The definitive presentation was made in substance in the 
work of F. Gillmann, "Die anni discretionis im Canon Omnis utriusque 
sexus" in Archiv fur kath. Kirch enrecht, Vol. 108 (1928), pp. 556-617; see 
die epilogue to this (after the objections of J. Ernest had been raised), 
idem, he. cit., Vol. 110 (1930), pp. 187-192. 

19 In another context — when dealing with the judicial oath or with 
the contract of marriage — the anni discretionis were understood to be the 
years which dated the advent of adolescence (14 for boys and 12 for 
girls). This elasticity in the interpretation of the expression was due to 
the fact that die young were grouped in accordance with a septenary 
division which is still customary in Canon Law, and so in round figures 
considered the seventh year of age as the first, and, 12-14, as the second 
stage of development. Penal prescriptions which were directed against 
those who failed to receive both sacraments at the times designated 
were designed to cover only the fourteen year old; cf. Baumgartler 
op. cit., pp. 193f. 



and logically the duty to receive Holy Communion was also 
fixed to begin with this age. 20 

In practice, however, the reception of Holy Communion 
began to be viewed in a different light. It is a fact that throughout 
the whole of the late Middle Ages there are references to the 
confession of seven year olds 21 but never of Communion for 
children of this age. In this matter St. Thomas appears to have 
become authoritative. He laid down as requisite for the recep- 
tion of Communion the presence of true devotion (actualis 
devotio) in the recipient, but that this could be expected only 
with the tenth or eleventh year. 22 This view was quite a fre- 
quent one in later times. Henceforth the years ten to eleven 
were generally recognized as the earliest date at which Holy 
Communion could be administered for the first time. During the 
late Middle Ages, however, an obligation, to go to Confession 
and to receive Holy Communion once a year was assumed to 
exist only at the fourteenth year (in the case of girls sometimes 
at the age of twelve), 23 and this represented the general prac- 
tice. Other considerations, besides solicitude for the required 
devotion and reverence, were responsible for the late term set 
for the reception of first Holy Communion. At the reception 
of Communion it became customary to make contributions in 
money and kind to the parish priest and sometimes also to the 
secular authorities. 24 

As early as the thirteenth century frequently, and later almost 
universally, an earlier age limit was set for first Confession, and 
a later one for first Holy Communion. The age for first Com- 

20 Gillmann, he. cit., Vol. 110 (1930), pp. 189f. 

21 Baumgartler, op. cit., pp. 189f. 

22 St. Thomas, In IV Sent., d. 9, a. 5, sol. 4.— Cf. Baumgartler, op. 
cit., pp. 140-174. 

23 Browe, Die Pflichtkommunion ini Mittelalter (Minister, 1940), pp. 

24 Idem, pp. 162-165. 



munion fluctuated between the tenth and fourteenth, and 
sometimes even fifteenth, years. 25 First Confession was fixed 
some time, mostly some years, before first Communion. 26 
Only since the eighteenth century has there been opposition 
from theologians and individual synods to the late first Com- 
munion date insofar as they thought that this should not be a 
hard-and-fast rule without exception, and without attention 
being paid to the meaning of the condition "y ears of dis- 
cretion". 27 The revival of historical studies also contributed to 
a new interest in the practice of the early Church, accelerating 
the return to tradition. 28 

25 Baumgartler, op. tit., pp. 186 f.; Andrieux, op. cit., pp. 143-166. — 
When universal compulsory schooling was introduced in the 1 8th century, 
the reception of first Holy Communion was frequently put off until 
the end of school; Heiser, op. cit., Vol. I s p. 42. From the diocese of Strass- 
burg, as Pope St. Pius X reports it in his decree on first Communion, the 
question was asked in Rome (1910), whether children of twelve or 
fourteen years of age could be permitted to approach the Holy Table 
for the first time. 

20 This point of view was commonly defended, even by theologians 
of note, e. g., Suarez and de Lugo, on the grounds that Confession is 
more necessary, and that for the sacrament of the Eucharist maior 
discretio must be demanded; cf. Browe, Die Pflichtkommunion, pp. 174f. — 
Even Hirscher gives, as his opinion for the average age for first Confession, 
the completed eighth year, for first Holy Communion the completed 
12th or 13th year; Katechetik, pp. 609, 627.— The practice from the 
thirteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century corresponds to the 
opinions that were proposed, cf. Andrieux, op. cit., pp. 106 ff. and 143 ff. ; 
also P. Browe, "Die Kinderbeichte im Mittelalter" in Theologie und 
Glauhe, Vol. 25 (1933), pp. 689-701, especially pp. 697ff. 

27 Andrieux, op. cit., pp. 177-179. On a practice of early first Com- 
munion which was suppressed during the era of Enlightenment in 
Southern Germany, consult }. Grotsch, "1st die Friihkommunion etwas 
Neues?" in KBl, Vol. 79 (1954), pp. 89-96. 

28 W. Trapp, Vorgeschichte und Ur sprung der liturgischen Bewegung 
(Regensburg: Pustet, 1940), p. 303. — Heiser, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 46-51. 
Toward the end of the nineteenth century in a majority of dioceses in 
Austria and in many German dioceses children were permitted to go to 



A complete reorientation was begun by Pope St. Pius X 
who, in 1905, issued the decree on frequent Communion and 
in 1910 the decree on the first Communion of children. 

The decree on frequent Communion expressly criticized the 
excessive emphasis placed on reverence for the sacrament in 
the previous era, by declaring that it was not the primary pur- 
pose of the sacrament "that through it the honour and reverence 
due to our Lord should above all be safeguarded, or that it 
should serve as a reward for virtue in the recipients". 29 

The decree on the first Holy Communion of children 30 
refers to "not a few errors and deplorable abuses" which have 
entered into the fixing of the age of discretion, 31 especially of 
different ages for the reception of the sacrament of Penance 
and for that of the Eucharist before the tenth and twelfth or 
even fourteenth year. The obligation to receive Communion 
should coincide with the age at which the child begins to use 
his reason, "that is about the seventh year or a little later or 
even sooner". Then it sets out the detailed conditions to which 
we shall return later. 

The law that is in force at the present time, which only 

first Confession when they were nine or ten years of age, and the next 
year to first Holy Communion (in the diocese of Brixen they were 
permitted to receive Holy Communion the same year, in fact immediately 
after their first Confession) ; J. E. Pichler and W. Pichler, Lehrplan fur 
den katholischen Religionsunterricht (Vienna, 1904), pp. 44-46. 

29 ASS, Vol. 38 (1905), p. 401. 

20 AAS, Vol. 2 (1910), pp. 577-583; English translation: Pastoral 
Letter of the Bishops of the Province of Cincinnati, The First Communion 
of Children (Cincinnati, Ohio: Diocesan Chancery Office, 1910): A 
sixteen page pamphlet containing an English translation of the decree 
Quam singulari as well as the pastoral letter of the bishops of the province. 

31 AAS, loc. at., p. 579: haud pauci errores plorandique abusus. By these 
words the abuse that had become almost universal in the previous 
centuries is characterized patently as the result of a deviation in practice 
rather than as the outgrowth of an error in a matter of faith. 



summarizes the prescriptions issued by St. Pius, is to be found 
in the Code of Canon Law of 1917. It achieved a middle 
course between the excessive simplicity of Christian antiquity 
and the all too severe restraint of the later period. Holy Com- 
munion is declared to be both the right and the duty of every 
Catholic. The dignity of the sacrament is safeguarded insofar as 
it is to be administered to the children only when they are 
able to receive it with some understanding. In particular there 
are the following regulations : 

1. "It should not be given to children who, by reason of 
their tender age, are unable to know and desire this sacra- 
ment" (can. 854, para. 1). The Communion of small infants 
which had been permitted for twelve centuries is thereby 
excluded. The benefits which they would gain from the Sacra- 
ment are not judged to be so great as to compensate for the 
inevitable lack of reverence inherent in its unconscious recep- 
tion. Integration into the Mystical Body of Christ, which was 
formerly associated with the Communion of infants, is in any 
case brought about by Baptism. 

2. As soon as the consciousness of the children has matured 
to some extent, the duty of Easter Communion should be 
fulfilled. This is laid down in essentially the same words as those 
of the fourth Lateran Council (can. 859, para. 1). "Every 
Catholic of either sex, who has reached the age of discretion, 
that is, attained to the use of reason, must receive the Holy 
Eucharist once a year, at least during the Easter period, unless 
his own priest should, for a reasonable cause, advise him to 
abstain from it for a time." The law regulating Easter Com- 
munion by giving the age when the obligation is to begin, 
thus also constitutes the law for first Holy Communion. The 
phrase, "that is, attained to the use of reason (id est ad usurn 

rationis)", which was added to the famous canon of the Lateran 
Council, is obviously intended in the sense of meaning an earlier 



age. The age fixed by Pope St. Pius X in the phrase "about the 
seventh year" was, it is true, not repeated, but in another 
section of the Code these two phrases occur together and are 
seen there to possess an identical meaning. 32 In this way a cer- 
tain latitude, which takes into consideration the stage of develop- 
ment actually reached by the child, is possible. Precisely the 
same expression is also employed for the time when the obliga- 
tion to receive the sacrament of Penance is to begin (can. 906). 
The opinion has been held that this somewhat loose manner 
of expression is a sign that the first Communion law is not an 
ecclesiastical but a divine law, the ecclesiastical precept being 
only another way of expressing our Lord's own precept: 
"Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his 
blood you can have no life in you" (John 6, 53). 33 This view 
cannot be maintained, however, if we do not give the Code a 
wider interpretation, but simply regard it as fixing the age 
around the seventh year. This would certainly be the case if 
we would argue that the child who has reached the age of 
reason is already in danger of falling into sin ; for the danger 
of venial sin does not imply the necessity of the fortifying sacra- 
ment, at least not as a strict duty. 34 There could be the danger 
of serious sin, 35 but in the case of a seven-year-old child this is 

32 Canon 88: expleto autem septennio (puer) usum rationis habere prae- 
sumitur. The expression, "use of reason", is in the language of Canon 
Law not used in a psychological sense — for a two year old who has 
learned how to talk uses his reason to some extent — but in a moral and 
theological sense, as a use of reason that is already developed. 

33 Gatterer, pp. 136f. 

34 M. Conte a Coronata, Institutiones luris Canonici, "De Sacramen- 
tis", Vol. I (Turin: Marietti, 1943), p. 291. 

35 Concilium Tridentinum, sess. XXI, c. 4 (Denzinger et ah, n. 933) 
(Schroeder, op. cit., p. 34) in which the reason why children are not 
required to go to Holy Communion before they have reached the age 
of reason is simply: they cannot lose die grace which they received at 



not as yet likely. 36 Nor is it to be supposed, that for centuries 
a divine precept had been grossly neglected throughout the 
Church, and that this had been supported by countless eccle- 
siastical regulations or at least by custom. On the contrary, 
there is no doubt that this new regulation corresponds much 
more closely with the meaning of the divine precept. 

3. What dispositions are expected from the children? The 
Code makes several distinctions (can. 854, para. 2f.) : 

a. If the child is in danger of death, it is required only that 
he should be "able to distinguish the sacred Host from common 
bread, and to adore it reverently". Evidently it suffices to say 
to him (especially if he has seen adults genuflecting before the 
Host): "The Child Jesus (that is, He whom the child knows 
as the * Child Jesus') is present in this piece of bread", and then 
devoutly folds his hands. This can obviously be done by a four 
or five-year-old. 

b. More is asked of children who are well. They ought, at 
least, to know "those mysteries of the faith which are absolutely 
necessary for salvation (necessitate medii) and approach the 
Holy Eucharist devoutly, according to the capacity of their 
age". Very little is thus required, certainly not more than two 
affirmations : that God exists, and that He rewards what is good 
and punishes what is wicked. No certain theological justification 
exists for demanding also a knowledge of the three divine Per- 
sons and a knowledge of Jesus Christ as God-Man. In any case 
the Code's requirements are qualified by "according to their 
capacity" (pro suo captu). 

4. Who will decide whether a child possesses the disposition 
thus required, whether it is not too early to receive first Com- 

36 Actually on February 2, 1920, in response to the question: whether 
the "use of reason" of the "Decree of First Communion" meant the 
ability to commit sin, a negative reply was given: Archiv fur kath. 
Kirchenrecht, Vol. 110 (1930), pp. 152f. 



munion? The Code of Canon Law answers (can. 854, para. 4) : 
''It is for the confessor and the parents or guardians to judge." 
It is assumed that the child will have seen a confessor before his 
first Communion. 37 The confessor should put some questions 
to him, but it is nowhere indicated that in each case absolution 
has to be received. The child need not have sinned in order to 
be admitted to his first Holy Communion. 

Also relevant is canon 860, which deals with those entrusted 
with the responsibility of seeing that the child fulfills his obliga- 
tions, that is by receiving Holy Communion at the right time 
and not too late. The list of persons named includes parents, 
guardians, confessors, directors of schools and pastors, in that 
order. The parents are accorded the first place; in this respect 
at least they are to prove themselves the child's first catechists. 

5. It is the pastor's task to see that these regulations are properly 
observed. Two duties are especially incumbent upon him (can. 
854, para. 4). He must take care that children are not admitted 
to Holy Communion before they have attained the age of reason 
or without sufficient preparation. If necessary he will submit 
them to an examination. He will also have to see that those 
who have attained to the use of reason are admitted to the 
sacrament as soon as possible. Moreover, it is his duty to pro- 
vide the necessary instruction for the children. More will be 
said about this later. 

3. First Confession 

In present-day practice first Holy Communion is as a rule 
preceded by Confession. The necessity of preparing the children 
for the sacrament of Penance is perhaps the chief obstacle 

37 This prescription reflects the ancient practice of taking the child 

to Confession several times a year before the time of first Communion. 

According to the Catechismus Romanus (II, 4, 63) those who are entrusted 

with the task of deciding the exact time for the first Communion of 



why many pastors find it hard to accept the idea of early first 
Communion. For it is certainly much more difficult to prepare 
the children to receive correctly the sacrament of Penance — in 
which the penitent's positive attitude is of the essence of the 
sacrament — than it is to prepare them for Holy Communion, 
in which it is really only a question of reception. A seven-year- 
old child can readily receive the Eucharist with devotion, 
but to confess his sins contritely is more difficult for him. 38 
The difficulty grows if the pastor believes that he ought to 
acquaint the child with all the details of a good technique for 
confession or if he attempts to give him the complete teaching 
on penance. Such demands, however, cannot be reconciled 
with the sense of the Church's regulations. If anywhere, then 
surely here ought to be applied the principle of the old Chris- 
tian mystagogical teaching, that the sacrament should first of 
all be actually received and only then explained in its essence 
and in the details concerning its fulfilment. 

Instruction on the sacrament of Penance — and similarly also 
on the sacrament of the Eucharist — should be given essentially 
in two stages, before first Confession, only insofar as it is 
necessary for its valid and fruitful reception, and at the 
catechism stage with that completeness desirable for later life. 
In the meantime the ordinary course of catechesis and the con- 
tinual reception of the sacraments will afford sufficient 
opportunities for the gradual development of what has been 

But we should establish, first of all, whether and to what 
extent the law of the Church actually demands Confession 

children are: "the father and the priest to whom the children confess 
their sins". 

38 The Middle Ages entertained a contrary view, but only because 
they demanded that the children should possess an extensive knowledge 
and a fervent devotion to be able to receive Holy Communion. 



from the seven-year-old child. As a general rule this is un- 
doubtedly the case. Admittance to first Communion requires, as 
we have seen, the cooperation of the confessor. This does not 
as yet, strictly speaking, presuppose Confession; but it requires 
only that the child should see a priest who might also be the 
child's confessor. The priest could draw no conclusions for the 
external guidance of the child on the basis of an actual con- 
fession, 39 but a second passage in Canon Law is quite clear. 
When fixing the age at which the obligation to go to con- 
fession begins for the faithful, canon 906 uses precisely the same 
expression employed in connection with the duty of first 
Communion, namely, "as soon as they have reached the age 
of discretion, that is, the age of reason". Hence confession is 
required even for children of about seven. On the other hand, 
it is today a generally accepted opinion of moralists that the 
obligation to confess once during the year binds only those 
who are conscious of a great sin. 40 This interpretation, how- 
ever, has not always found acceptance in the Church. When in 
eighth-century France the obligation to confess once a year 
was introduced, all the fiithful had to go to confession. If 
some had nothing to confess they were referred to the sins 
of thought and to the seven (or eight) capital sins, because 
"a man can scarcely live without committing one of these". 
Even in the first half of the thirteenth century the prescription 
of the Fourth Lateran Council was still understood in the sense 
of an obligation binding also those who were conscious only 

39 This is because of the concept, which actually prevails today, of the 
distinction between the forum internum and the forum externum. In any 
case the declining years of the Middle Ages, whose usage appears to have 
inspired the present canon, conceived this distinction less strictly than 
we do at present. 

40 Noldin - Schmitt - Heinzel, Summa theol. moralis, 3 vols. (30th 
ed.; Innsbruck: F. Rauch, 1954), Vol. II, § 669, p. 583; Vol. Ill, § 410, 
p. 352. 



of venial sins. St. Thomas was the first to effect a change in 
this interpretation. 41 

Since this more liberal interpretation justifiably prevails 
today, we ought also to understand the prescription for children 
in the sense not of actual obligation to confess venial sins, but 
as a directive which ought to be respected so long as there is 
no reasonable ground for a departure from the rule. It must be 
assumed that on account of insufficient insight grave sins are 
as a rule not possible before the tenth or eleventh year. 42 The 
confessions of seven to eight-year-olds are certainly only 
"confessions of devotion", but even such confessions have their 
value. It is meaningful that small lapses, too, should be confessed, 
and that pardon for them should be received in the sacrament. 
Thus the basic link with the Redeemer will be ever reaffirmed 
anew. Moreover, the general practice of secret confession for 
venial sins too will facilitate the approach to the confessional 
also for those who need to confess because of grave sins and 
even for individual penitents generally if later they should have 
occasion to confess grave sins. 

41 J. A. Jungmann, Die lateinischen Bussriten (Innsbruck: F. Rauch, 
1932), pp. 175f. 

42 This is the opinion of authors who have investigated the psycholo- 
gical aspect of children's sins. It is clear that children, especially when they 
have been under bad influence, can perform actions which objectively are 
grave sins. But taking into consideration their thoughtlessness and their 
dependence on the feelings of the moment, it is evident that the malice of 
even a very wicked action is not sufficiendy grasped to make it a grave 
sin. Th. Miincker, Die psychologischen Grundlagen der katholischen Sitten- 
lehre (Handbuch der katholischen Sittenlehre II) (Dusseldorf, 1934), pp. 
113 f. In fact Miincker says of the years preceding adolescence (''around 
the tenth to the twelfth year"): "Considering the psychological state of 
the child at this age, we may ask whether or not at this age the child is 
capable of committing a grave sin" (p. 114). — J. Engert, Psychologie und 
Padagogik der Erstheicht und Erstkommunion (Donauworth, 1918), p. 31: 
"A grave sin accompanied by the consciousness of a serious offence 
against God is probably never encountered before the age of eleven." 



It is especially valuable also for the child to confess his own 
childish sins. It is salutary for him to examine his past faults 
and to be sorry for them. Through his contrite confession before 
God he will turn from the evil which he has committed. He 
will be open to a sincere admonition and an encouraging word 
from the confessor. In this way the child will be the recipient 
of the priest's beneficial individual guidance. Finally it is of 
great educational value for the child to recover in the sacra- 
ment of penance full purity of soul and to become conscious 
of it. This gives him courage to start anew, and spurs him on to 
a greater zeal and conscientiousness — -just as a person who wears 
new clothes is always more careful of them than he is of old, 
worn-out garments. 

From what has been said, we can draw certain conclusions 
concerning the preparation of children for first Confession. 
If we must be satisfied with minimum requirements (and 
under the circumstances we frequently must), preparation will 
not take many days. 43 In fact, the Code of Canon Law requires 
only that "the pastor is obliged, each year, to prepare the 
children for the proper reception of the sacraments of Penance 
and Confirmation by a continuous course of instruction lasting 

43 "Of extreme importance not only for his own day but also for 
many subsequent centuries is the famous canon 45 of the Council of 
Laodicea (c. 381) which was wrongly understood and as a consequence 
incorrectly translated by Martin of Bracara (d. 580), the Apostle to the 
Suevians (PL, Vol. 84, c. 49, col. 581). In his translation he failed to 
distinguish between simple catechumens and the competentes. As a conse- 
quence the instruction of four weeks (the days of Lent) which in the 
early Church had been prescribed for the competentes was shortened 
to three weeks; and this shortened period was then made mandatory 
for the simple catechumens. The strange error was often repeated during 
the succeeding centuries and has even found acceptance (with the weeks 
of Lent restored) in the Code of Canon Law: L. Kilger, "Zur Entwick- 
lung der Katechumenatspraxis vom 5. bis 18. Jahrhundert" in Zeitschrifl 
fiir Missionswissenschaft, Vol. 15 (1925), pp. 168-169. 



several days (per plures dies), to be held at stated times". 
This canon, as the context reveals, deals with children who have 
never received or are not receiving a regular course of instruc- 
tion. It is, therefore, only necessary that, apart from the know- 
ledge of the basic truths of religion which they must know for 
first Communion, 44 they should be able to recognize certain 
of the faults which they commit as sins, to detest them before 
God and to confess them to the priest. No instruction on the 
Ten Commandments, on the distinction between grave and 
venial sin, on perfect and imperfect contrition, on the necessity 
and duty of confession, is required. It is enough to point to some 
of the ordinary sins of children. More important than detailed 
teaching in the sense of the catechism is the knowledge that 
God is displeased with lying, disobedience, and stubbornness, 
and that we should humbly ask His pardon. To this we might 
add a simple explanation of how we should ask God's forgive- 
ness, that is, how to awaken sorrow, and how to tell about 
one's sins. 

In this way the child will be led to make his first Confession. 
This does not imply that he should receive absolution. There are 
two reasons which might cause the priest to dismiss the child 
without absolution, simply with his priestly blessing. Firstly, 
because he has realized that the child is not guilty of any sin, 
but secondly, because he may discover that although the child 
may have sinned he does not possess, due to his immaturity, 
that degree of inner concentration that would enable him to 
awaken true contrition for what he has done. 

Such a procedure, making so few demands, and correspond- 
ing roughly to that which good priests would have used in the 
Middle Ages, 45 must not be the rule today when there are con- 

44 See above, p. 299f. 

45 In his Instructiones Pastorum St. Charles Borromeo says: "It is a 
beautiful custom to introduce the children of five or six years of age to 



ditions of proper pastoral care and regular catechesis in school. 
That is why episcopal ordinances have been added to the 
universal Code of Canon Law. But from what we have said, 
we may better appreciate the points upon which our attention 
should be focused, and that Confession need not be an obstacle 
to the early first Communion of children. 

Proper preparation for first Confession — and likewise for 
first Communion — may already be included within the normal 
school-catechesis, without special instructions being necessary 
for Confession and Communion. At the beginning of the second 
year most of the children will have reached the age of seven. 
They are thus subject, in the sense we have already explained, 
to the rule of annual confession and of making their Easter duty. 
If they are to be admitted to the sacraments at the end of this 
second year, they will have received two years of religious 
instruction. 46 Without the even course of catechesis being in 
any way disturbed and turning into formal sacramental catechesis, 
the children will have received, in these two years, a well-round- 
ed and sufficient, in fact excellent, preparation. If in the first year 

their confessor, so that they can gradually be instructed and then be 
brought to a knowledge and reception of the sacrament. In any case 
priests ought to guard themselves against giving sacramental absolution 
until they have ascertained whether or not sufficient matter is present, 
and whether or not the children have reached a sufficient use of rea- 
son." — The introduction to the confessor means here that instruction is 
necessary. In general, however, throughout the preceding centuries we 
can find no trace of a preparatory instruction; those in authority were 
satisfied if the child could repeat the most important prayers by heart 
(especially the Lord's Prayer and the Creed) ; these the children learned 
from their parents, and when they had memorized them the parents saw 
to it that sooner or later after they had reached the age of seven, they 
were brought to Confession. P. Browe, "Der Beichtunterricht im 
Mittelalter" in Theologie und Glaube, Vol. 26 (1934), pp. 427-442. 

46 In the U.S.A. it is customary for the children to receive their first 
Holy Communion sometime after Easter in their second year in school. 



they have learned only some basic notions and a few simple 
prayers, the second year will provide an introduction to the 
history of salvation as perhaps contained in their religious 
textbooks, and ample opportunity to cover the ground necessary 
for an understanding of the sacrament of Penance. The sin of our 
first parents and their punishment, as well as the story of the 
flood, will offer occasions to speak to them of sin and of the 
purpose of amendment. The promulgation of the Ten Com- 
mandments on Mount Sinai offers the catechist an opportunity 
to consider in detail the various kinds of sin and to prepare the 
children for the examination of conscience. The Saviour who 
forgave the woman caught in adultery or who gave the Apostles 
the power to forgive sins are suitable starting points for his 
treatment of the sacrament of Penance. 47 It will then only 
be necessary in the weeks immediately preceding the reception 
of the sacrament of Penance to summarize what has already 
been taught and to speak about the actual procedure. 

In the case of well-organized schools, in which each school 
year is represented by a class, preparations within the normal 
catecheses are the most natural solution. It has even special 
advantages because the whole of religious training and character 
guidance can become more unified. It will be worth retaining 
unless the time available is so limited that special extension 
periods become desirable, or that, for other reasons, instruc- 
tions on first Confession and first Holy Communion are requir- 
ed by the parish. On the other hand, it is clear that this prepara- 
tion would be more thorough, if it is given in special classes 
designed for this purpose, as this is the rule in many dioceses 
or necessary in less organized schools. The preparation will then 

47 The Religionsbuchlein of W. Pichler has instructions for more de- 
tailed Confession catechesis. Similarly Raab, Gotteslehrbuchlein, which (in 
an appendix) gives among other matters a complete catechesis for 
Confession and Communion. 



still less have the character of a series of religious instructions 
and still more that of edification and of religious guidance. 
It would not do simply to begin with instructions on Confes- 
sion and then to proceed to Communion; he should not begin 
with the statement that we ought to confess our sins. From the 
very beginning Confession should only be part of the prepara- 
tion for first Communion. The catechist should consequently 
turn the attention of the children to the heavenly banquet to 
which they have been invited, or even better, to the truth that 
God is good to us and wants us to be with him. Indeed, at this 
point he has his first opportunity to announce the good news 
of the love of God to the children, who will be filled with awe 
and devotion. Only against this background will he begin to 
teach about sin, penance and Confession. 48 

Concerning the details in our teaching on the sacrament of 
Penance, we should not set our goal too high even under 

48 Some guides for the instruction of the children of this age level 
(7-8): G. M. Dennerle, Leading the Little Ones to Christ (Milwaukee: 
Bruce, 1932), very detailed, complete and good instructions, adapted 
from Gruber-Gatterer, Katechesen; W. R. Kelly, Our First Communion 
(New York: Benziger, 1937) for the children themselves; D. Lynch 
et ah, The Holy Eucharist (St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1952); Catholic 
Teachers Association, Little Lessons for Little Catholics (New York: 
Paulist Press, 1937); H. Freese, First Steps to God (St. Paul: Catechetical 
Guild, 1941); Mother M. Loyola, A Simple First Confession Book (Brook- 
lyn: ITS, n. d.); Sr. Annunziata, First Communion Catechism (New York: 
Benziger Bros., 1946), this is a "Lesson Unit" catechism; J. V. Brownson, 
Feed My Lambs (Detroit: Diocesan Press, 1938); J. J. Baierl, A Method 
of Confession and Communion j or Children (Rochester: Seminary Press, 
1937); A. J. Heeg, A Little Child's Confession Book (St. Louis: The Queen's 
Work, 1941); E. Horan, My First Communion Catechism, and also a 
Teacher's Manual (New York: W. H. Sadlier, 1942); L. L. Morrow, 
My First Communion (New York: E. O'Toole, 1941); F. McGrade, 
My Confession (St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1953); Our Lady's Catechists, 
Happy Half-Hours for Sixes and Sevens (Miss Devitt, Tenth House, Oxted, 
Surrey) ; Mother M. Bolton, A Little Child's First Communion, 6 pamphlets 
or booklets (Paterson, N. J.: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1935). 



favourable conditions. Fortunately we need not expect an 
actual conversion at this age; at most there might be a first 
conscious turning towards God. But the psychological state of the 
child must not be lost sight of. He is not yet mature enough to 
make momentous decisions independently. At his stage of mental 
development he may be able to acquire knowledge of various 
kinds and delight in it, but he must have adults to teach him 
what to do. " The morality of children in the elementary schools 
is a morality of obedience ; it is a time devoted to learning and 
acquiring knowledge and forming habits. The primary objec- 
tive of instruction for first Confession is training in the correct 
performance of external actions." 49 

Having described the goal, the catechist will enter upon what 
is to be done. There are the "five fingers", the five stages 
which belong to the sacrament of Penance: conscience, con- 
trition, resolution, confession, penance. These, however, only 
refer to what the penitent has to do, the elements essential to 
the sacrament; the absolution of the priest is not mentioned. 
For this reason Father Joseph Goldbrunner prefers the order: 
examination of conscience, contrition and resolution, confession 
of sins, absolution, penance. 50 

If there is sufficient time, as will be the case in special 
instruction on first Confession, the catechist should deal at 
greater length with the examination of conscience which can 
also become conscience formation. As we have already men- 
tioned, a systematic approach is not indispensible for first 
Confession. It will be necessary later and should be prepared 

49 J. Goldbrunner, Sakramentenunterricht, p. 12. — Miincker, op. tit., 
p. 113 (Footnote in the above No. 42) says: "Even up to the age of 
eleven, the motive of authority dominates all others" ; cf. also Leo Kunz, 
"Das SchuldbewuBtsein des Kindes und seine Seelsorge" in Anima, 
Vol. 7 (1952), pp. 62-68. 

50 Goldbrunner, op. tit., p. 15. 



during these instructions. The basis are the Ten Com- 
mandments taught in such a way that each is linked with some 
key-word indicating the sins which most frequently occur at 
this age, or better, with some positive act which God expects of 
us. A great obstacle to such teaching is the ninth and tenth com- 
mandments. It has been a useful suggestion to speak of ten 
points rather than of ten commandments upon which the 
children should examine their consciences. These points would 
naturally be connected with the Ten Commandments, but in 
such a way that in the ninth place "school" (later to be sub- 
stituted by "trade" or "profession") and in the tenth something 
like "self-education" might be included; the latter perhaps 
immediately to be connected with self-examination in connec- 
tion with the seven capital sins. 51 

The catechist should not give the children a complete table 
of sins with perhaps even stereotyped formulas for confession. 
(A printed list would anyhow be entirely unsuitable for this 
age.) Many children would only repeat such a list more or 
less verbatim and lose any personal character and, indeed, the 

51 Id., p. 39, and also p. 36. Goldbrunner also offers the following divi- 
sion: Prayers — Honour of God — Sunday — Parents — Neighbours — 
Modesty — Property — Truth — School — Self-Education. See also Al. 
Barth, Meine Erstbeicht und Erstkommunion. Gedanken und Merksatze 
(Freiburg: Herder, 1951), pp. 6f., who puts the Friday law of fast and ab- 
stinence and the seven capital sins in the ninth and tenth place. — Differ- 
ently A. Kirchgassner, "Der Gewissensspiegel im Erstbeichtunterricht" 
in KBl, Vol. 76 (1951), pp. 201 f., who for the younger children recom- 
mends the schema: 1. In the Service of God, 2. At Home, 3. In School, 
4. In Free Time, 5. In Secret. Cf . also W. ]. Smith, Preparation for First 
Confession (St. Louis: Queen's Work, n. d.) who simply asks the child 
ten questions without using any headings; A. Heeg, A Little Child's 
Confession Book (St. Louis: Queen's Work, 1941) uses the following: 
1. God, 2. Name, 3. Day, 4. Parents, 5. Be Kind, 6. Be Pure, 7. Be Honest, 
8. Be Truthful; Catholic Teachers, Little Lessons j or Little Catholics (New 
York: Paulist Press, n. d.) content themselves with making fifteen 
statements (short, concise) as starting points. 



sincerity of confession. Abuses are possible even when such 
formulas are put in question-and-answer form. The catechist 
might discuss some pertinent examples based on key-words 
taken from the lives of the children followed by such questions 
as : What is it such a child ought to remember when examin- 
ing his conscience? How should he say this in the confessio- 
nal? The catechist should encourage a varied expression and 
stimulate the child's confession to be both individual and 
concrete. 52 

The main emphasis in the instruction on Confession, though 
not that necessarily demanding the greatest amount of time, 
should be on contrition. Its purpose and necessity will become 
evident to the children through the use of biblical examples. 
Precise distinctions are not necessary for the children. The 
worthless, "bad" act of contrition, which only springs from 
worldly motives, should be distinguished from the "good" 
act of contrition, which is fixed on God. Leading the children 
straight on to the practice of perfect contrition (sorrow springing 
from love) by overlooking the immediate and more under- 
standable motives, should also be avoided, even in the later, 
more thorough, teaching. In by-passing these there is danger 
that even "sorrow springing from love" might remain a matter 
of mere words. Shame in the sight of God, who sees all things, 
ingratitude towards our Father in Heaven who has bestowed 
marvellous gifts upon us, are motives of genuine contrition. 53 

52 Gatterer, pp. 251 ff., criticizes the use of a table of sins (confessional 
mirror — examination of conscience). Examine the cautions which 
B. Nisters, KBl, Vol. 74 (1949), has to offer. The danger that the children 
simply repeat mechanically what is contained in a confessional mirror 
was realized as early as the late Middle Ages. They tried to meet it by 
inserting, at intervals, some evidently impossible crime, e. g., "I killed 
the emperor with my battle ax"; cf. F. Falk, Drei Beichtbikhlein (Mini- 
ster, 1907), pp. 18 f. 

53 For the small child who can grasp the idea of guilt only by means 

— _Jii 


And is the suffering of Jesus also to be offered as a motive of 
contrition? Yes, in the sense that our Lord wished to suffer so 
much in order to atone for our sins. But it is surely not neces- 
sary to exhaust all possible motives? If the presentation is not 
felicitous thoughtful children (and also adults) will find it 
difficult to imagine how the sins we commit now could have 
caused the sufferings of Jesus such a long time ago. There is 
also the danger of mistaking natural compassion for true con- 
trition. We should rather use the idea of the sufferings of Christ 
to make the children realize why it is that sins are forgiven in 
confession, and so to awaken their trust and gratitude. 

It should be understood that a definition of contrition is 
superfluous for children going to confession for the first time. 
More important is a simple formula for the act of contrition. 54 

The natural result of true repentance is, also for the small 
children, a firm resolution. The actual confession will create 
no special difficulty if examination of conscience has been 
prepared in the way which we have suggested. The confession 
of sins is much easier for children than for adults, especially 
when they have learned that the priest must keep silent about 
what he has heard. 

The sacred character of the sacrament requires that even in the 

of a mental picture of loss, this idea must be made more concrete: the 
stained garment of the soul ; the Heavenly Father who will no longer 
love such a child as he did before cf. H. Spaemann, "Das Moment 
des Verlustes in der Reue" in KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), pp. 279-284. 

54 In Austria the formula contained in the Religionsbuchlein of W. 
Pichler has caught on without, however, silencing its critics; see for 
example: ChPBl, Vol. 62 (1949), pp. 174-178; Vol. 63 (1950), pp. 16f., 
277-279; Der Seelsorger, Vol. 18 (1947/48), pp. 249-255; TheoL-prakt. 
Quartalschrift, Vol. 99 (1951), pp. 348 ff. In the U.S.A. a variety of for- 
mulas is in use ; it is very likely that the revised Baltimore catechism 
will in [the ^end "effect some one formula that will be universally 



case of the very young some attention should be paid to the 
words which frame the actual confession, for if once learned 
the formula will not be changed again. For many centuries — 
even today in many countries - — the Confiteor was used, the 
first half serving as an introduction to, the second as a con- 
clusion of, confession. 55 In practice, during the past few decades 
shorter formulas have been introduced either to save time or 
for some other pastoral reason. For many a poor sinner making 
his confession after many years, a failure to remember the "con- 
fession prayers" has proved the final obstacle. 

As introduction it is enough to say : "Humbly and sorrowfully 
I confess my sins." At the end: "For these and all my other 
sins I am heartily sorry and beg pardon and absolution, " would 
suffice. Sometimes it is customary to say finally: "My Jesus, 
mercy", but this would appear to be less appropriate because 
it might often sound affected. If a diocesan prayer book or the 
catechism offers definite formulas, the catechist should keep to 

It is desirable that the penance given should have an education- 
al effect, 56 but this cannot generally be realized because the 
home circumstances are rarely known. Where it is merely 
a matter of devotional confession it is justifiable, for other 
reasons, to impose a penance of some simple prayers. 

The procedure we have recommended presupposes that we 
are dealing with children of seven to eight years of age. It is 
important to realize that this is quite a different system than the 
one formerly prescribed for children of ten to twelve years of 

55 For this reason, the formulae of the Confiteor are among the oldest 
linguistic features both in Old High German and in Old Slavonic. 

56 J. C. Heenan, Priest and Penitent (London: Douglas Organ, 1946), 
pp. 39-47; F. D. Joret, The Eucharist and the Confessional (Westminster: 
Newman Press, 1955), pp. 84-110. 



That is why such preliminary instructions for those going to 
confession for the first time need to be correspondingly devel- 
oped in subsequent years. This will largely be done incidently 
since the various elements of penance and of confessional pro- 
cedure will come up in the different stage of catechesis. Later 
occasions fixed for the confession of children and linked with 
preparations in common in church or school will provide new 
opportunities for dealing in greater detail with individual points. 

The upper grades above all will provide opportunities for 
systematic instructions on the sacrament of Penance. They will 
be more thorough and take into consideration some of the 
circumstances of adult life. 

The matter of examination of conscience has been sufficiently 
dealt with in the main section on moral law. What is now im- 
portant is to bring out the difference between venial and mortal 
sins. Mortal sin is something more than an aggravated venial 
sin. Mortal sin is committed when the sinner knows that if he 
commits a certain action he breaks with God. The subjective 
element of acting knowingly will thus have to be taken into 

On the other hand, the catechist must not convey the impres- 
sion, even to the older children, that it is a matter of course to 
commit mortal sins from time to time. Grave mistakes have 
been made, not only in catechesis but also in many of the older 
catechisms, by enumerating mortal sins in the old language of 
moral theology and by speaking, in the instruction for first 
Confession, in a matter of fact tone about the kind and the 
number of sins which the penitent must confess, or about the 
way in which invalid confessions, due to the omission of mortal 
sins, could be repaired when it was assumed — in order to 
awaken deep sorrow — that everyone is going to hell. 57 

r>7 H. Mayer, Religionspadagogische Reformhewegung (Paderborn: 
Schoningh, 1922), p. 149, has called attention to unhappy efforts in this 



Certainly, mortal sin must be treated in the upper grades, 
both frequently and with all due earnestness. But it should 
only be done in such a way that the terrible and unnatural 
character of such conduct is realized, otherwise the impression 
may be created that mortal sins are not to be taken too seriously, 
or looked upon as unavoidable, or — and this is or was fre- 
quently the case — children are encouraged to search their 
consciences for mortal sins which they have never committed. 
This results in confusing their conscience and creates states of 
anxiety due to supposedly invalid confessions, sometimes with 
disastrous results. 

The importance of interior sorrow in the sacrament of 
Penance will have to be increasingly emphasized when teaching 
older children. They will have to realize that when the five 
points have been memorized and understood, more remains 
to be done. Especially in the case of a grave sin what really 
matters is a turning back to God. The parable of the prodigal 
son may be used to illustrate this interior process. The fairly 
widespread notion that it is sufficient to confess one's sins from 
time to time, even when there is no serious intention to improve 
and to live in conformity with the laws of God, must be opposed. 
Indeed, the idea that to be a Christian consists solely in the 
observance of the commandments must be banished. The state 
to which one should be converted through penance is the 
joyful service of God. 58 

A vital point for later and wider catechesis on penance is a 

direction; T. E. Bridgett, Blunders and Forgeries (London: Kegan Paul* 
1891), pp. 149-151. 

58 In this sense consult the directives on Fiihrung zu Busse und Buss- 
sakrament, which were issued by the German bishops primarily for 
the pastoral care of youth, and are printed in KBl, Vol. 72 (1947), pp. 
25-29, 84-92. — For the guidance of older children, see what Tilmann 
has in his " Unsere KinderbeichtpraxisimLichte des Neuen Testamentes "in 
KBlj Vol. 71 (1946), pp. 17 ff. (with several other numbers up to page 150). 



proper evaluation of the sacrament of Penance itself. The cate- 
chist should anticipate the objection that it is meaningless to 
confess one's sins to a mere man, that we ourselves can come to 
some agreement with God without such mediation. These 
arguments suggest a complete misunderstanding of the Chris- 
tian order of redemption. It is, therefore, not necessary to deal 
with them in the form of special apologetics. The best defence 
s by means of a general catechesis in which the children have 
become clearly conscious of Christ as the sole redeemer and 
mediator between God and man. Thus it will have been made 
apparent that it is not we who decide how to reach God, but 
God Himself. There is only One who can lead us, especially 
when we have sinned, to God and who can reconcile us to 
Him. That is the Good Shepherd in whose name the priest 
in the confessional speaks the words of absolution. 

4. First Communion 

In our planning for a catechesis on first Communion, we must 
be clear in our minds that it is important to draw T the correct 
conclusions from a given premise. As the history of the Church 
shows, two systems are possible apart from the Communion 
of infants just baptized. A system of late first Communion and 
one of early first Communion. The system of late first Com- 
munion presupposes more mature children and can be applied 
with care. 59 But since the introduction of compulsory education, 

59 In the Middle Ages there was no question of any special instruction 
for children in preparation for first Holy Communion. After the thir- 
teenth century it became customary on solemn days of Communion to 
preach a sermon during the Mass of Communion itself, to which chil- 
dren no doubt were permitted to listen. P. Browe, " Mittelalterliche 
Kommunionriten " in Jahrbuch fur Liturgiewissenschafi, Vol. 15 (1941). At 
the close of the Middle Ages in many dioceses specific formularies were 
prescribed for such occasions or for similar preparations for the Sacrament 
on Palm Sundays. These centred on the Blessed Sacrament and were 



and especially in the course of the nineteenth century, it was 
developed into an instructional and ascetical preparation 
which sometimes lasted the whole year. It was bound to 
awaken a disposition of great zeal and expectancy, such as 
would have been impossible in the case of younger children. 
Much had to be learned and much was learned. The children 
were given ascetical tasks in the form of particular examina- 
tions, and special devotions were held with them. 60 They were 
given religious books. Catechetical magazines especially ad- 
dressed to first communicants were published. As a result 
the day of first Communion was "the most beautiful day of 
my life". 

This system had much to recommend it ; it had much the same 
effects as a good retreat. These advantages, however, were 
dearly purchased, apart from the great spiritual demands made 
upon the children and their subsequent fatigue. 61 In order to 

doctrinal or exhortatory in character. E. Martcne, De antiquis Ecclesiae 
ritibus IV, 25, 29 (Antwerp, 1737: Vol. Ill, 490ff.); A. Dold, Die Konstan- 
zer Ritualientexte (Minister, 1923), p. 52, Footnote 15. After the Council 
of Trent different synods came to require for the first Communion 
of children a special examination on the principal catechetical formulas 
and on the Sacrament of the Altar. A brief preparatory instruction 
appears to have been prescribed for the first time by St. Charles Borromeo 
in 1564. — P. Browe, Die Pflichtkommunion im Mittelalter (Minister, 1940), 
pp. 179-184. 

60 In Germany there were at least eight. As late as 1951 there were still 
six, and one in Austria. These papers are, as a rule, published monthly, 
one for each month of the year in which first Communion is admi- 
nistered. They are illustrated and intended to appeal to the emotions 
of the children. F. Bauer, "Erstkommunionzeitschriften" in KBl, 
Vol. 76 (1951), pp. 477-479; J. Solzbacher, "Zeitschriften fur Erstkom- 
munikanten?" loc. cit., pp. 489-492. Solzbacher recognizes how valu- 
able these papers have been, but rightly anticipates their eventual 
disappearance. Both The Catholic Messenger and Mine serve this purpose 
in the U.S.A. 

61 Memories of infancy are recalled by A. Adam, Spannungen und 
Harmonie (Kevelaer: Butzon &Bercker, 1940), pp. 176f. — Also Hofmann 



increase their cooperation as much as possible, the children, 
who had been ready for a long time and able to receive the 
sacrament worthily, were held back from it for years. Thus 
the order of Christian life, to which the sacrament belongs as 
its regular nourishment, was altered in a questionable manner. 62 
Now we have a system of early first Communion or more 
precisely, the system of a relatively early first Communion 
which coincides with the awakening of childhood. This system 
has distinct advantages, but there are also disadvantages with 
which we have to put up. It is, for example, a fact that 
many children receive their first Communion in a certain 
twilight of semi-consciousness and of matter only half under- 
stood. There need not have been a false Communion, as many 
had feared; even the former Communion of children just baptiz- 
ed is not a false Communion. True, the human contribution, the 
opus operantis, can amount only to a bare minimum. The main 
emphasis is on the divine action which takes place in the admini- 
stration of the sacrament (opus operatum). The child, sanctified 
and incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ through 
Baptism, is finally also to be strengthened and nourished by the 
sacramental Body of the Lord. It is impossible to ask of seven 
year old children what can be expected only of twelve year olds. 

"Auf was bereiten wir die Kinder im Kommunionunterricht vor?" in 
KBl, Vol. 67 (1941), pp. 4-6, points to the danger of a specific kind of 
"Low Sunday piety": "Precisely because of this rapid acceleration the 
fruits which are derived from it are short-lived and ephemeral": P. F. 
Klenke, "First Communion Notes" in NCEA, Proceedings and Addresses, 
Vol. 47 (1950/51), pp. 512-515; Sr. M. Philothea, "The Age for First 
Communion" in The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 48 (1950), pp. 

62 Early in his life the author discovered a prayerbook for children 
published in 1906; it was entitled, Die betende Unschuld (Prayerful 
Innocence). It contained prayers for Confession, but none for Holy 



First Communion literature of the last century is no longer 
of any use. Several kinds of methods are possible today. 

Under certain circumstances, even before he attends school 
or before he is given any pastoral ecclesiastical instruction on 
first Communion, a child may receive Holy Communion. In 
such cases he must be prepared either by the parents or by their 
representatives. 63 The preparation is not likely, as far as know- 
ledge is concerned, to differ too much from that minimum set 
down in the Church's laws for first Holy Communion. 64 More 
important, however, than instruction, is that die child should be 
surrounded by the religious atmosphere of a Christian family, 
that he should know how to pray, however simply, and that he 
should be held to the practice of virtues befitting a child. 
Systematic training is not necessary. 65 

The immediate preparation during the last few days before 
the reception of the sacrament should attempt to awaken 
devotion to the Saviour in the Blessed Sacrament and to teach 
the children how to conduct themselves when they receive the 
sacrament. Such preparation might be encouraged and fostered 
on a larger scale. Many pastors have used it successfully by 
giving special instructions to mothers. Voluntary helpers, 
or catechists too, could cooperate in the immediate preparation, 
which also includes confession. They could be useful in the case 

63 B. Nisters, "Die rechtzeitige Kinderkommunion " in KBl, Vol. 74 
(1949), pp. 301-307. 

64 See above, pp. 

65 Nisters, op. ciL, p. 304, suggests to mothers: "During the course 
of a walk, she may speak of God and of His care for everything in the 
world; during a visit in church, she can recall the Saviour; when 
seeing a crucifix she may talk about death. In this way, she can 
combine teaching with practice, since in the case of these small chil- 
dren knowledge of objects outside themselves is always connected with 
action"; D. L. Greenstock, Christopher's Talks to Catholic Parents 
(London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1951), pp. 95-103. 



of the less zealous families and thus extend the number of early 
communicants. 66 

They should take only a few children at a time and the 
smaller the children are the fewer. It should also be assured 
that in every case of such early Communion the child's reli- 
gious care and guidance will be continued without over- 
zealousness or excess, and in as simple a manner as possible. 
Briefly, the child will continue to be surrounded by a religious 
atmosphere. 67 

The cooperation of the family is a factor that will naturally 
always remain indispensible even in the case of the other method 
of preparation for first Communion which, for the time being, 
will remain the one most widely used, namely systematic first 
Communion catechesis. This may be the catechesis ordinarily 

66 Read the suggestions offered by J. Pascher, "Die Fruhkommunion 
der Kinder" in KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), pp. 489-497, especially p. 496 f.; K. 
Sudbrack, " Eucharistische Familienerziehung " in KBl, Vol. 73 (1948), 
pp. 266-268. Concerning experiences with the equivalent of Parent- 
Teacher groups in Germany consult B. E. Krahl, "Zur Vorbereitung 
auf die Erstkommunion " in Theol.-prakt. Quartalschrift , Vol. 100 (1952), 
pp. 160-164. Extensive suggestions for the less immediate preparation 
of the child, see Helene Helming, Die hausliche Vorbereitung der Kinder 
auf die heilige Eucharistie (Freiburg: Herder, 1952). Spiritually akin, but 
more dependent upon natural factors and objects, is the book of Hilger 
(author) and Al. Burkart (artist), Biichlein vom lieben Brot (Freiburg: 
Herder, 1952). In English: Sr. Mary et al, The Catholic Mother 's Helper 
(Paterson: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1948), in lesson form for the most 
part, and remote preparation. Sister M. Marguerite, op. cit., the whole 
book on remote preparation; Sister J. Patrice, Your Family Circle (Mil- 
waukee: Bruce, 1952), pp. 49-61, pp. 104-114; M. L. Coakley, op. cit., 
pp. 64-81, remote preparation. 

67 The support and the guidance of helpers or catechists will be 
especially needed for children from homes in which religion is absent, 
if they are to receive the sacraments at the normal age, having been 
prepared for this with the other children. They should not be put 
off to a later date, because the situation is not thereby improved, and 
because the parents will only be annoyed. 



given in school. Without doubt the training imparted in the 
first year might suffice, but we might also avail ourselves of 
the advantages to be derived from the catechesis of the second 

Bible stories taken from the New Testament are the most 
natural means of leading the little ones to Christ and to the 
Blessed Sacrament. 68 Such incidents as the visit of the shepherds 
to the crib, the coming of the wise Men from the East, the 
changing of the water into wine, the marvellous multiplication 
of the loaves and the fishes. Christ, the friend of children, will 
serve as introduction. A few suggestions from the catechist, 
some children's verses, will serve to provide the link with the 
sacrament and stimulate a holy desire in the children. The 
Last Supper affords an opportunity for final instructions which 
can be extended by special acts of devotion and the last prepara- 

As this is envisaged in Canon Law as the normal procedure, a 
special catechesis lasting several weeks, which prepares for 
first Communion outside school hours, will not be very dif- 
ferent. 69 It will concentrate more fully on the essential elements, 

68 Among others these might serve as examples: W. R. Kelly, Our 
First Communion (New York: Benziger, 1937) and A. J. Heeg, Jesus 
and I (Chicago: Loyola Univ. Press, 1933). 

69 Canon 1330, 2: The pastor is obliged "to instruct the children 
with special zeal, especially if there are no obstacles during Lent, in 
order that they may worthily receive first Holy Communion for the 
first time from the altar". — Christian antiquity knew of a rather ex- 
tensive and enriched catechesis on the Eucharist for those who had 
been recently baptized. The catechist explained the nature and the 
effects of the mystery, and devoted a great deal of time to Christ's 
presence in the sacrament and to an attempt to demonstrate to the 
baptized its sublime importance. Symbols for the Old Testament (the 
loaves of proposition, manna, water gushing from the rock, Melchisedech) 
as well as the Psalms (22 33 42 49) were used. J. Danielou, "La catechese 
eucharistique chez les Peres de l'Eglise" in La Messe et sa Catechese {Lex 
orandi 7) (Paris, 1947), pp. 33-72. 



make the teaching seem less like school and instruction, and 
stress and develop rather all that is religious and educative. 
The child on his way to God; the Saviour who comes to us; 
stories from His life; the bread from heaven with which He will 
nourish us, not only once but again and again, so that we should 
never grow T tired. This might be the dominant idea. 70 

Thus a certain wide perspective should be the rule. It is 
not merely a matter of doctrine on the sacrament of the altar 
to be offered, or some complicated Communion ceremonial to 
be exercised and explained. 71 The sacrament must not be isolat- 
ed, it should lead the children to Christ and to love of Him, and 
to develop a healthy piety so that from the beginning it will have 
its rightful place. 

Is Communion to be explained to the children as a sacrificial 
meal, a participation in the sacrifice of the Mass, the "first 
complete participation", as some zealous exponents of the 
liturgical revival would sometimes desire? No matter how 
important it is to work gradually towards this knowledge, it 
would be premature and an unnecessary burden for a seven or 
eight year old child. We must proceed step by step. Just as it is 
sufficient for a sick child to know the difference between the 
Eucharist and ordinary bread, so it also suffices for the normal 
case of early first Communion that the child should know he is 

70 See footnote N. 48. — Demanding more of a mental effort, with the 
sacrifice of the Cross and the sacrifice of the Mass as chief topics, and also 
methodologically very informative: J. Goldbrunner, Sakr anient enunterricht 
mit dem Werkheft (Munich: Kosel, 1950). Similarly W. Ziehrer, Zum hei- 
ligen Malik. Ausgefuhrte Katechesen zur Einfiihrung in die voile Mitfeicr 
der hi. Geheimnisse (Stuttgart, 1949). 

71 The custom of expressing devotion to the Eucharist in accordance 
with acts of virtues was developed only in the seventeenth century. 
This form of devotion was unknown to Canisius and Bellarmine and 
the Catechismus Romanus. A. Schwarzmann, Die Eucharistie in den Kate- 
chismen bis zum Einbruch der Aufklarung (Innsbruck, 1951), unpub- 
lished dissertation, p. 81. 



receiving the Body of our Lord. As a matter of fact, he has 
already received the Lord spiritually during the sacrifice in 
which he actually participates. But the point which matters 
and must matter to him is that the Communion, which he is 
receiving for the first time, is a holy gift. Thus, to begin with, 
this point only needs explaining. In the words of our Lord 
Himself, preserved for us in the Gospel, it is almost this aspect 
of the Eucharist alone that is emphasized. And if it is meaning- 
ful to speak about the banquet character of the Mass it is at 
least justifiable to let the child find the approach towards it 
from this angle. 

Later it will become clear to him that the banquet is a 
sacrificial meal and that the whole feast is the offering up of a 
sacrifice. For first Communion catechesis should be given in 
such a way that what has been said can be expanded later, but 
also that nothing need be retracted. If, for example, we may 
say that the Lord is coming we should explain that it is not the 
Child in the manger that is meant, but Christ in His heavenly 
glory, disguised under the shape of bread. 72 But this idea, too, 
should be subordinated to that of the Body of Christ. Our 
Lord calls us to Himself and feeds us with the bread from 
heaven, which is His Body. 73 

In general, the aim should not as yet be to instil a great deal 
of knowledge into the first communicants. The catechist would 
do better to spend the ample time available for communion 
instruction in developing the piety of the children, as well as a 
holy joy in the practice of their religion, in prayer and in being 
good. Besides Bible stories, edifying examples taken from the 
lives of holy men and women and pious children are of special 
importance at this age level. Occasionally he might end his 

72 F. Weber, "Jesus kommt" in KBl, Vol. 67 (1941), pp. 8-10. 

73 See above, p. 240 if. 



instruction by taking the children into the church, or by making 
a trip to some shrine in the neighbourhood. 

These years of awakening, when, for the first time and with 
a sense of marvel, the children hear about God's prodigies of 
power and love, are also the first opportunity for them to take 
their religion seriously. They now have fewer inhibitions 
than later on, and are also capable of a childish heroism. 
Regarding outward actions, however, the catechist should 
not make too many demands upon them. The most valu- 
able fruit will be the impression that he has made upon their 
souls. 74 

Also, as far as the Blessed Sacrament is concerned, his aim 
will be deep reverence rather than a precise knowledge. When 
at benediction of the Blessed Sacrament the sacred Host appears 
like a shining star in the golden monstrance, when clouds of 
incense are seen rising towards it, and the priest taking the 
monstrance, only after the precious veil has been placed upon 
his shoulders, gives the benediction, while the congregation 
bows low — all this is much more valuable than many words 
about the Real Presence. 75 And if he succeeds in inculcating 
this inner reverence, he will not find it difficult to guide the 
children in external devotion and in proper conduct at the 
moment of Communion. 

The celebration of children's first Communion in common 
was unknown until the seventeenth century. Earlier, children 
took Communion for the first time accompanied only by 
their parents. The celebration in common developed only 
since there was a systematic church catechesis for children. In 
Germany the first evidence of such a celebration was in 1661, 

74 Kl. Tilmann, "Die Gebetserziehung wahrend der Erstkommunion- 
vorbereitung und dariiber hinaus" in KBl, Vol. 65 (1939), pp. 322-329, 
and especially 329. 

75 M. Gatterer, op. cit., pp. 148 f. 



in the diocese of Minister, in France a little earlier. 76 Subse- 
quently, in many places the Jesuits advocated special instructions 
for first Communion, as well as a solemnization of first Com- 
munion. This was soon organized dramatically with candles, 
the children dressed like angels, with solemn procession, sermon 
and, not infrequently, with a play based on the catechism. Later, 
following French example, there was added the renewal 
of baptismal vows. This, however, met with considerable 
opposition in Germany, even as late as 1800, because it seemed 
reminiscent of Protestant confirmation. 77 In the nineteenth cen- 
tury Low Sunday came to be almost universally the day on 
which Holy Communion was administered to the children for 
the first time. 

The situation is now somewhat different owing to the change 
to early first Communion. In the case of older children it is 
possible to arrange external solemnities, but with children of 
seven or eight it is more difficult. We have, moreover, come to 
realize that the phrase "the most beautiful day of our life" 
has also its questionable aspects, even if we disregard the outward 
displays and sometimes exaggerated festivities within the circle 
of friends and relatives, which have become customary in many 
Catholic countries. Is it right for Christians to extol first Com- 
munion day as something extraordinary? Communion is not 
a sacrament received only once in a lifetime, like Holy 
Orders or Matrimony. It is, after all, our "daily bread". Nor is 
first Communion the child's first encounter with Christ; at 

76 F.X. Bauer, " Zur Geschichte der feierlichen Kindererstkommunion" 
in Theologie und Glaube, Vol. 25 (1933), pp. 562-590; H. J.Thurston, 
"First Communion: Studies in Old French Rituals " in Amer. Ecclesiastical 
Review, Vol. 44 (1911), pp. 125-141 ; Bishop Dupanloup, The Ministery 
of Catechising (London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden Welsh, 1890), pp. 

77 J. Grotsch, Die Erstkommunion in der Did zese Regensburg (Regensburg: 
Pustet, 1933), pp. 59 f. 



Baptism he has already been incorporated into the Mystical 
Body and filled with His life. 

On the other hand, a preparation in common calls for a first 
Communion in common, just as a private preparation should 
have as its counterpart a private communion of the children 
accompanied only by their parents. A first Communion in 
common must somehow be organized as such, but the form 
which it takes should be much more simple than the traditional 
Low Sunday festivities. 78 It is not at all necessary for the children 
to wear new clothes, even less for the girls to wear white 
dresses. The procession into the church need not be in rank and 
file and to the accompaniment of music. The choir need not be 
trained to sing special numbers nor need there be a long sermon. 
The Community Mass, adapted to the simplicity of the Chil- 
dren's Mass with songs and prayers suitable for the occasion, 
would be the correct basic form. There might be an offertory 
procession, perhaps with candles or with hosts as actual offer- 
ings. 79 

Should the renewal of baptismal vows be retained? The 
reception of any sacrament, thus also the reception of Com- 
munion, is in itself a confession of man's basic union with God, 
by grace, into which all have been assumed through Baptism, 
as well as of the obligations which we have taken upon ourselves 
through it. This confession can be renewed on many occasions, 

78 A. Kirchgassner, "Die Erstkommunionf eier " in KBl, Vol. 73 (1 948) , 
pp. 52-55; A. N. Fuerst, op. cit., Vol. I (1939), pp. 308-309. 

79 In favour of this last solution is Kl. Tilmann, "Zwei Opfergang- 
formenbei der Erstkommunionf eier " in KBl, Vol. 73 (1948), pp. 262—265. 
Each child receives a host in his hand which has been covered with a 
white linen cloth. This they give to the priest. The Offertory pro- 
cession with candles is very suitable, if the custom is retained that 
the sacristan should place the candles to burn somewhere close to the 
altar. But we may wonder whether the use of the Communion candle 
is not too much of a distraction for small children in any case. 



as, for example, is envisaged by the liturgy of the restored Easter 
Vigil at the climax of the liturgical year. Such an express renewal 
is also appropriate when the young people reach that age when 
they begin to understand the implications of their union with 
God, and when there might be some solemn occasion for such 
a renewal. 80 The first Communion day of the seven or eight- 
year-old children is not as yet the right moment. At this age it 
would seem preferable to follow the suggestions that before 
the beginning of the celebration Mass there should, in the 
presence of pastor and catechist, be an examination devised in 
some liturgical form, to determine how well the children are 
prepared to receive the Sacrament. 81 

More important than to celebrate this first Communion with 
external pomp is the need to develop what has already been 
taught for first Communion. Even when the catechist has been 
afforded the opportunity of holding special catecheses on Com- 
munion, these should not be concluded once the first Com- 
munion day is past. 82 Also in the case of the normal catechesis 

80 The day of Confirmation or graduation exercises could be such an 
occasion. In France it is the day of the communion solennelle of the twelve 
year old; consult above, pp. 38-39. On the meaning and the way in 
which such an occasion is to be organized, many papers have been written 
and speeches given, at various Congresses, in addition to articles in 
magazines and periodicals; see the special number of La Maison-Dieu, 
IV, No. 28 (1951) : "Le probleme pastoral de la Communion Solennelle. " 
On this subject see also what Rome has said about private first Com- 
munion: SC Council, July 21, 1888, quotes in A. Lehmkuhl, Theologia 
Moralis, 2 vols. (12th ed.; Freiburg: Herder, 1914), Vol. II, No. 1, p. 201. 

81 K. Gliickert, " Zur Gestaltung der Erstkommunionfeier " in KBl, Vol. 
75(1950), pp. 41 f. 

82 In the book of H. Gatzweiler and E. Gerhards, Die Erstkommunion 
in Vorbereitung und Nacharbeit (Mainz, n. d. [1942]) are presented twelve 
catecheses which are to be given immediately after Low Sunday and 
which could actually be called a practical exercise in Christian fidelity. 
These catecheses are intended for first communicants who will shortly 
after Low Sunday transfer to a secondary school of some kind. They 



in school, continuation should be equivalent to expanding pre- 
vious instructions. Now is the time to demonstrate the elements 
of a life of Christian virtue such as is fitting for those who 
have been guests at the Lord's table. 

After first Communion day the catechist should help the 
children to go to Communion regularly and to receive it 
worthily. It is clear that henceforth Confession and Communion 
are not to be insolubly linked. Holy Communion must always 
come first. Under the circumstances children are permitted to 
go to Communion frequently, even daily. But this presupposes, 
if it is not to degenerate into an external habit, that the education 
which children receive at home aids them in their religious and 
moral efforts. This will only be possible in a truly Christian 
family. An instruction of the Sacred Congregation of Sacra- 
mental Discipline (1938) has stipulated that great prudence must 
be exercised in Catholic colleges and boarding schools where 
daily Communion may be the rule. 83 

There are some unenlightened parents and teachers who 
seemingly want to make up for their poor educational efforts 
by urging the children to go to daily Communion, since, they 
say, Christ is the best of all teachers. They forget, however, that 
this sacrament was not instituted for such a purpose. The 
children are not likely to remain enthusiastic for long ; with the 
advent of adolescence the habit will, in most cases, be discarded 

are therefore children of about then years of age. — The "Paderborn 
Lehrplan" itself (1946) which proposes to "avoid placing undue emphasis 
on asceticism in the course of preparation for the sacrament" recom- 
mends for the period after Low Sunday "a strong emphasis on the moral 
formation of the children" (p. 25). 

83 "Instruction of the Congregation of the Discipline of the Sacra- 
ments", December 8, 1938, in Periodica de re morali canonica et liturgica, 
Vol. 28 (1939), pp. 317-324. According to this we must avoid everything 
that might appear to be pressure put on the pupil in what concerns 
the regular reception of the sacrament (frequent communion). 



once and for all. The rule which Father Goldbrunner tells his 
children to enter into their workbooks is a good one: 1. I must 
go at least once a year (commandment of the Church), 2. I 
should go every Sunday and on Feast Days, 3. I may go every 
day. 84 

To prevent the practice of frequent Holy Communion from 
leading to undesirable abuses, it is necessary for the children to 
have easy access to the confessional. Specified times should be 
designated for children's confessions, either by the pastor or 
by the priest giving catechesis in school, provided he can make 
the necessary arrangements. These occasions might be preceded 
by a special preparation and would not only contribute to a 
worthy reception, but would also deepen the understanding of 
the sacraments. In addition, zealous pastors will invite the 
children to go to monthly confession so as to prevent crowds 
turning up all at the same time. If there are large numbers 
the children can be divided according to classes, districts or 
streets, each group to come on a special day. In this way the 
sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of the Eucharist can 
become an evermore effective weapon to protect the living 
union with Christ in the hearts of the young. 

5. Introduction to Holy Mass 

If children are to fit organically into Christian life, their prepara- 
tion for Holy Communion ought to lead gradually to an under- 
standing of the Mass and to proper participation in it; for 
the life of the Eucharist will remain healthy only if it is rooted 
in a genuinely liturgical life. This is the principal objective of 
our catechesis. If we succeed in making the children feel at 

84 J. Goldbrunner, Sakramentenunterricht mit dem Werkheft, p. 89. The 
children themselves add the two conditions to what is suggested in the 
above text. 



home at Holy Mass we shall have created a spiritual home for 
their entire lives as Christians. The Mass will enter their lives 
at least every Sunday. In it they will discover all the basic truths 
of Christian doctrine and all the decisive requirements for 
Christian living. They will find the whole of life ordered towards 
God and the renunciation of selfishness. They will discover 
faithful attachment to Christ on His way of the cross and in 
His resurrection, the Christian community of brethren, the 
sacramental life of the Church. 

The practice of early first Communion necessarily entails 
that the young children can have only a sketchy knowledge of 
the Mass. But the child may already have realized that the priest 
at the altar performs an action similar to that which our Saviour 
himself performed at the Last Supper, and that this is why the 
small white host becomes, after the consecration, the Body 
of Christ. 

This notion, which even the first communicant can under- 
stand, that much of what takes place in the Mass took place 
at the Last Supper, should be the first to be expanded. Then 
there was a large room, a laid table, bread, and a chalice of 
wine; now the solemn atmosphere of the church, the altar 
covered with white linen, hosts of bread, and wine. Instead of 
our Saviour there is the priest, instead of the apostles the 
congregation. The priest prays both aloud and silently and 
finally distributes the Body of Christ to the faithful. 85 In order 

85 Maria Montessori, La santa Messa spiegata ai bambini (1932; 2nd ed.: 
1949); idem, The Mass Explained to Children (New York: Sheed & Ward, 
1932). This small book, sad to say, takes for granted a Mass that 
has not been influenced in any way by the liturgical movement. The 
precious recommendations which are made by the great pedagogue for 
the use of the liturgy in education are further developed by Helene Lu- 
bienska de Lenval, L' education du sens religieux (1946); L f education du sens 
liturgique (1953); synopsized very briefly in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 1 (1946), 
pp. 331-347; Vol. 3 (1948), pp. 382-392. 



to hold their attention the children might be given occasional 
tasks, such as observing the number of candles, the colour of 
the vestments, the moments at which the servers hand the 
cruets to the priest, and when the priest genuflects. 

Here the training proceeds by means of occasional teaching 
and systematic instruction. From the Old Testament we learn 
of the sacrifices offered by Abel, Noe, and Abraham. Next it 
will be pointed out that Christians, too, have a sacrifice, the 
sacrifice of the Mass. 

When dealing with the creation of the angels, the "Sanctus'' 
could be mentioned, with the birth of Christ, the " Gloria". 
These are hymns with which the children will be acquainted in 
the Mass. 

A systematic and planned instruction on the Mass should also 
have its place even in the lower grades. It should be limited, 
as far as possible, to what the children can see and hear of the 
outward actions; it need not be a thorough instruction on the 
essence and the effects of the divine sacrifice, or a complete 
doctrine of the Eucharist. Since children at this age can memo- 
rize only with difficulty the exact sequence of the ceremonies, 
it is advisable to show them pictures of the different parts of the 
Mass. These could be either wall pictures or illustrations in a 
book which the children have open before them. 86 At first, 

86 Examine the study which P. Ranwez has made of the principal 
prayerbooks and missals for children in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 7 (1952) 
under the tide, "Teaching the Mass to Children" (pp. 494-499); 
Anonymous, Know Your Mass (St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1954); 
Joseph P. Hedderman, We Go to Mass (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1954); 
J. Hoever, St. Joseph Children's Missal (New York: Catholic Book 
Publishers, 1954); Mary Irwin, and Brogan, Edward, Missal for the 
Children's Mass (New York: William Sadlier, 1949); Sylvester Juergens, 
Marian Sunday Missal (New York: Regina Press, 1956); Daniel A. Lord, 
Children's Missal (New York: William Hirten Co., 1954); Lawrence 
Lovasik, The Mass for Children (New York: Catholic Book Publishers, 
1954); Demetrius Manousos, My Mass Book (St. Paul: Catechetical 



however, they will have to be acquainted with the essential 
happenings of the Mass and with its structure. The consecration 
will already be known to the children on account of its impres- 
sive ceremonial. It must now be made clear that there is not only 
a change in the bread and wine, but that a sacrifice is being 
offered. This is signified by the elevation of the Sacred Host by 
the priest. Thus seizing upon the already acquired notion of 
sacrifice we explain that this implies giving something to God 
in order to show Him that we love Him and that we wish to 
obey Him. The sacrifice of the Mass should now be explained 
from two angles, firstly, as a sacrifice which Christ offers, and 
secondly, as a sacrifice which we offer with Him. 

The catechist may develop this thought in perhaps the follow- 
ing fashion. Christ, the Lord, first offered His sacrifice on the 
Cross. He gave His own life, His own flesh and blood to the 
Heavenly Father, thereby showing the immensity of His love 
for Him; but He did this not for Himself but for mankind. But 
only a few people were present at this sacrifice. That is why 
our Lord instituted the Sacrament of the Altar in which this, 
His sacrifice, is continued. This sacrifice must be renewed by 
the priest wherever there are Catholics and at all times. It is, 
however, no longer Christ Himself who speaks the words of 
consecration, but He asks the priest: "Lend me your tongue, 
pronounce the words for Me. Offer, with Me and for Me, My 
Body to the Heavenly Father. Distribute It to the faithful in 
the shape of bread." 

This is one sequence which leads to the sacrifice of Christ 
with which also the memory of His sufferings is linked. But in 
order to make it possible for the children to participate actively 
in the Mass — which is the aim of our efforts — it is of decisive 
importance to proceed further and explain the Mass as the 

Guild, 1954); Francis Turmezei, My Little Missal (St. Paul: Catechetical 
Guild, 1950). 



sacrifice of the Church, as that sacrifice at which we arc not 
merely allowed to assist, but which we ourselves may also 
offer up. In the Old Testament mankind offered God many 
different gifts; but what Christ offered was much more pre- 
cious. Now we may give to God what Christ gave Him. It 
is true that at first we offer only bread and wine — this happens 
at the Offertory. This is a first sign that we love God and that 
everything belongs to Him. But that is not enough, that is 
only the beginning. The priest must consecrate these gifts of 
ours in order that they might become the same gift that our 
Lord offered. 

Only upon such a basis will it be possible to explain the 
structure of the Mass. For this structure can only be understood 
when we concentrate upon the sacrifice of the Church in which 
the sacrifice of Christ is, as it were, wrapped. Now it is im- 
portant to show the sequence of the Mass as the natural devel- 
opment of the sacrifice of the Church. This is not too difficult 
for adults. The Offertory and the solemn prayer of thanksgiving 
are like a presentation to a well-deserving person. We organize 
a party at which a speech is made praising the achievements 
of the honoured one. The speech corresponds to the prayer 
of thanksgiving in which all are invited to join by the Gratias 
agamus. The previous preparation of the gifts to be presented 
corresponds to the Offertory. And because it is a sacred action 
we anticipate it by readings which set the tone for the occasion. 
This parallel can be translated into a form the children can 
understand; for example, the birthday of one of their parents. 
On this day, besides offering their congratulations, the children 
will also have an appropriate gift to offer. Perhaps some flowers 
or some small article that they have made themselves. The 
presentation, however, does not take place in silence. The 
children may recite a little piece of poetry and then thank their 
parents for all the good things they have received from them. 



That is precisely what we do in the case of God who is our 
greatest benefactor. This may also serve as a starting point for 
an explanation of Holy Communion. 

Sometimes the children may give their mother something 
to cat, perhaps an apple which they have received. A good 
mother accepts it but does not keep it ior herself. She divides 
it among her children. 87 

In such an outline the structure of the Mass is explained in 
all essentials. We have almost arrived at the division which 
Dom Pius Parsch recommended many years ago as the key to a 
fuller understanding of the Mass and which we can paraphrase 
much as follows: 1. We (come in order to) pray; 2. we listen; 
3. we prepare our gift; 4. we offer it; 5. we receive it back 

In the upper grades this basic material must be expanded. 
For more systematic instructions on the Mass we can follow the 
relevant sections of the catechism, with its parts to be memorized 
and the appended liturgical explanations. But as always the 
occasional teaching is of great importance. Again and again in 
the course of the catechesis, especially in the step of application, 
this or that point of the Mass can be illuminated, this text or 

87 Even more striking is the picture which J. Hofmger, S.J., a former 
missionary in China, has drawn from the Chinese celebration of New 
Year "at which the children of the family under the guidance of the 
eldest brother reverence their parents for their multiple benefactions 
by the customary deep bow. Then the children are invited by the 
parents to partake of the family meal"; J. Hofmger, "Die Messe in 
der mission arischen Verkiindigung " in Die Messe in der Glaubens- 
verkiindigung, edited by F. X. Arnold and Balth. Fischer (Freiburg: 
Herder, 1950, pp. 208-238), pp. 228 f.; Kl. Tilmann, "Kindermess- 
feier und liturgische Erneuerung", in the same volume (pp. 329-336) 
on p. 331 recommends that the family meal of the children of God 
with the customary grace before and after be used as the basic image 
with which to express this notion. But the idea of the sacrifice has then 
to be introduced into the presentation to complement it. 



that ceremonial correctly interpreted. The "first five minutes" 
method might be used to take up some details of the Mass and 
to discuss it with the children. In this way the whole of the 
Mass liturgy will gradually come to life : the prayers at the foot 
of the altar, preceded by the use of holy water as a sign of 
purification, the joyous praise of God in the Gloria, the special 
sublimity of the Gospel, the symbolism of bread and wine, 
the constant thanksgiving, the Our Father as a prayer in prepara- 
tion for Holy Communion, etc. Each of the purposes of the 
sacrifice has its own concrete expression and concrete terms. 
Thanksgiving finds its outlet in the Preface; adoration, in the 
Sanctus; asking for favours, in many different prayers; repara- 
tion, in the Memento for the dead. In this way it will be possible 
to explain to the children the most important Latin phrases 
used in the Ordo Missae, at least those that are said in a loud 
voice during the Mass. It is only fitting that they should know 
the meaning of the Kyrie eleison, Sursum corda and Agnus Dei 
and similar formulas which they hear Sunday after Sunday 
throughout their whole life particularly since every children's 
prayerbook has a translation of these phrases from the Latin. It 
will also be possible, gradually, according to their capacity, 
to give them an explanation of certain difficult thoughts, for 
example, the Per Dominum nostrum at the end of the Oratio: 
in praying we do not approach our heavenly Father entirely 
alone, but Christ accepts our prayers and makes them His 
own, because we are His brothers and sisters and belong 
to Him. He prays with us, just as does our mother 
when she prays with us and enfolds our tiny hands into her 

But all instruction during the religion period or pastoral 
"hour" is only a part of the introduction to Holy Mass. To these 
must be added practice, real participation in a well-celebrated 
service. A special children's Mass on Sunday has today become 



widely accepted in many parishes as part of their catechetical 
work. 88 

In order to avoid giving the impression that Sunday Mass is 
a duty, like going to school, which ends once school days are 
over, it is better that, whenever possible, the children's Mass 
should be organized by the parish, especially because schools 
are rarely connected with any one church. 89 Both the form of 
this children's Mass and the sermon accompanying it should be 
designed for their understanding. 

The basic form of assistance at Mass, at least on Sundays, is 
the Community Mass with chant (Betsingmesse , a form widely 
used in Germany today in which parts arc alternatively recited 
in the vernacular by the congregation). A children's Mass 
should also be provided at least on one other weekday, when 
simpler forms of the Community Mass, the missa recitata, may 
be used. 90 In any case its form should be simplified omitting the 

88 Today it might be a matter of wonder to us that a special Mass for 
children became customary only toward the end of the nineteenth 
century. In the previous centuries the most that had been done for the 
children was to devote a special sermon to them, especially at the time 
of first Communion. F. Zoepfl, " Kinderpredigt und Kindergottesdienst 
in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung" in Bonner Zeitschrift f. Thcologie u. 
Seelsorge, Vol. 2 (1925), pp. 126-154, especially pp. 151 f. (consult foot- 
note No. 59). 

89 Without doubt it is difficult to obtain reliable information on the 
percentage of attendance. We should, furthermore, not prevent the 
children from going to Mass with their parents. We cannot dispense 
with all control of attendance, if for no other reason than to impress 
upon the children the seriousness of the precept of assistance at Mass on 
Sunday. To check, the catechist may call on the children to give an 
analysis of the sermon or to report on the kind of announcements made 
on the previous Sunday. By questioning the children directly, he must 
proceed with caution; he should not embarrass those children who 
have been prevented from assisting at Mass by their parents. 

90 Consult Kl. Tilmann, "Grundsatze zur Gestaltung von Kinder- 
messen" in KBl, Vol. 73 (1948), pp. 201-208, and the continuation in the 
subsequent papers, KBl, Vol. 74 (1949), pp. 104-107, 177-183.— Examine 



singing of the Proper. A difficult epistle may be replaced by 
another one. During the Canon some o( the essential ideas may 
be expressed in short sentences which are said aloud, but loud 
prayers should not be recited all the time. Before Communion, 
while the priest recites his own silent prayers, a suitable form 
of preparation might be said aloud unless there is a hymn which 
fulfills the same function. Some hymns at Mass may sometimes 
be spoken instead of sung. In the hymns at the beginning and 
end of Mass the theme of the liturgical year should be expressed. 

Even freer forms of assistance at Mass which may resemble 
Mass devotions are permissible provided that there are no 
changes in the basic outline of the liturgy. If the type of Mass 
is used which features hymns in the vernacular, the Gospel 
and the Apostles' Creed, as well as the Lord's Prayer, should 
at least be recited in common. 91 It is, on the other hand, inadvis- 
able to expect children to participate in the silent Low Mass. 92 

Also regarding bodily attitudes and deportment at Mass, 
young children should not be expected to do what can only 
be asked of adolescents. The children should sit during the 
epistle and sermon, stand up at the Preface and S ductus } and 
kneel at all other parts. 93 To kneel during the presence of the 
sacrament upon the altar, that is, from the Consecration to the 

the remarks which were made by F. Mahr, KBl, Vol. 74 (1949), pp. 
211 f. — See also E. Horan, "Toward a More Active Participation in the 
Mass" in The Catholic Educator, Vol. 24 (1953-54), pp. 375-377; R. A. de 
Sauveboeuf, Our Children and the Mass (Chicago: Fides Publ., 1955), 
pp. 39-45; Mother Emmanuel, C. S. A., Teaching Liturgy in the Schools 
(Chicago: Fides Publ, 1958). 

91 F. Mittelstedt, ChPBl, Vol. 62 (1949), p. 140. 

92 Certainly the children ought to know how to occupy themselves 
during a Low Mass or during a Mass that is not arranged for them 
especially. Prayerbooks of recent years as well as Missals have been 
written with this in mind. (See above in Footnote No. 86). 

93 Kl. Tilmann, "Die aussere Ordnung bei der Kindermesse" in KBl, 
Vol. 74 (1949), pp. 260-264. 



Communion will not merely prove meaningful for the children 
but can also be justified by the rules laid down for choirs. 

All the more attention should be paid to teaching the children 
to observe these attitudes and to perform these "holy signs" 
(Guardini) with respect and care: from their entry into the 
church and the blessing with holy water to the kneeling at 
the Consecration. 94 The servers at the altar should be so well 
instructed that they can be examples to the others. 

A Mass thus organized will not be an object of boredom for 
the children or risk becoming routine. Klemens Tilmann has 
spoken of "a kind of catechetical paradise" opened to us since 
the liturgical revival has taught us again to understand in their 
own right individual elements in the structure of the Mass 
liturgy and to perceive their well-planned inner harmony and 
cohesion. It has made possible, both for adults and children, 
divers forms of participation. Today they can sing, listen, 
respond, profess their faith, hold Offertory processions and, not 
least, share in the holy meal. 95 

It is a disadvantage of conditions in the cities that, owing to 
the large number of children, many will be compelled to sit a 

94 It should be clear that at the consecration the children should not 
be compelled to perform a number of complicated movements. All 
they should be taught is to look reverently at the Host and Chalice when 
they are elevated, and to make a simple sign of the cross. If these simple 
actions are to be accompanied by a formula of any kind, it 
should be to greet the sacred body and the precious Blood, unless 
it is thought necessary to make an act of self-offering to the heavenly 
Father; in this sense, compare the text in the new German catechism: 
English translation, A Catholic Catechism (New York: Herder and 
Herder, 1958), p. 429. 

95 Kl. Tilmann, " Kindermessf eier und liturgische Erneuerung", p. 
330 (see above footnote, No. 87); G. Ellard, Lest They Assist Passively 
(St. Louis: The Queen's Work, c. 1943); idem, Men At Work At Worship 
(New York: Longmans, Green, 1940); idem, The Dialog Mass (New 
York: Longmans, Green, 1942), especially pp. 1-33; idem, The Mass 
of the Future (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1948). 



long way from the altar with the consequence that they will see 
little of what is taking place there. Thus the teaching will be 
deprived of its visual and concrete basis. In this case we would 
suggest that during the time the various classes receive their in- 
structions on the Mass — and this they will at least twice during 
their years in school — a special Mass might be celebrated for them 
alone. The children gather around the altar; while the priest 
celebrates the Mass, the catechist explains what is happening, 
formulating a suitable prayer at all the important stages so that 
the children will be led to a real participation. 96 

Circumstances will be different in the country. In the smaller 
communities there will be no ground for departing from the 
parochial Mass at which the children also assist. But in many 
such places the parochial Mass will be generally or predomina- 
tely a missa cantata, the Latin High Mass, which children can 
follow only with difficulty. Even if the responses of the faithful 
have not yet been introduced there should be at least a hymn 
before the sermon or a Communion hymn or a song at the 
end of Mass. 97 Sometimes, in order to give all, including the 
children, an opportunity to participate, children may come to 
Mass on week-days, perhaps regularly and as a group. In such 

96 This procedure is recommended by G. Gotzel, Religion und Leben 
(see above p. 195 f.), Vol. II, pp. 83 ff. — In France this Mass is called the 
Messe commentee and is used frequently in the pastoral care of souls. 
Actually it does not represent a complete innovation. In the West 
Syrian liturgy, for example, the deacon turns frequently to the faithful 
assisting at Mass not only to intone the prayers, but also to teach and to 
admonish them. 

97 The practice of permitting the children to sing hymns in the ver- 
nacular at various times during the Mass, in place of the Latin sung by 
the regular choir, was authorized by a letter from the Cardinal Secre- 
tariate of State, dated December 24, 1943, addressed to the German bi- 
shops. Since then, the Instruction of the Sacred Congregation of Rites 
on Sacred Music and Liturgy, Sept. 3, 1958 (paragraphs 14b and 33) 
has approved the practice for all. For full text, see Worship, Vol. 32 
(November, 1958). 



circumstances it would be intolerable if the children, who might 
be the majority of those attending, would always have to 
assist at a High Mass, or even a Mass for the dead with dubious 
musical accompaniment, to which they would have to listen 
patiently and in which they could take no active part. It might 
be possible to hold Community Mass in an acceptable form or, 
better still, to allow them to have the major share of the singing, 
either in Latin or in the vernacular. Even a Mass in Gregorian 
chant, disregarding, of course, the Proper, is not, as experience 
has shown, beyond their powers. 

6. Confirmation 

Catechetical preparation for the sacrament of Confirmation 
suffers to a certain extent from the fact that in its theology 
complete clarity is lacking. 98 

Should we, for instance, emphasize the profession of faith 
which characterizes Confirmation as the sacrament of the 
apostolate of public life : our investiture, as it were, with the 
knighthood of Catholic Action? Without doubt, such elements 
are among the effects of Confirmation," but it seems that, 
according to the sense of the older tradition, for which there is 
much evidence in patristic writings, its real essence is to form 
the "completion of Baptism" (complementum baptismatis). 
The life of grace has been kindled in the soul of the child at 
Baptism, through which the child is incorporated into the 

98 D. Koster, Die Firmung im Glauhenssinn der Kirche (Minister, 1948). 
Analyze the critique of H. Zeller, ZkTh, Vol. 71 (1949), pp. 358-360; cf. 
also B. Leeming, Principles of Sacramental Theology (Westminster, Md.: 
Newman Press, 1956), pp. 206-216. 

99 The Council of Florence in its Decretum pro Armenis (Denzinger 
et ah, n. 697): "In this sacrament the Holy Spirit is given for strength 
just as He was given to the Apostles on Pentecost so that the Christian may 
courageously confess the name of Christ": see J. F. Clarkson, et al. } The 
Church Teaches (St. Louis: Herder, 1955), p. 274. 



Body of Christ which is the Church. But the " fullness of the 
spirit" will be imparted at Confirmation. In Confirmation the re- 
ception into the Church and the bestowal of full rights as a mem- 
ber of the people of God are confirmed and sacramentally com- 
pleted by the bishop himself, the actual pastor in the Church. 100 

Besides the lack of clarity in the determination of its essence, 
there is also some uncertainty as to the most suitable time when 
confirmation should be administered. When it is a question of 
dealing with adults, as was most frequently the case in the early 
Church, Confirmation followed naturally after Baptism. The 
newly baptized left the baptisterium and entered the consigna- 
torium where the bishop confirmed them. Together with the 
rest of the faithful they were then led into the basilica where 
they participated for the first time at the Eucharistic feast and 
received Communion. In the Eastern Church the custom of 
conferring Confirmation immediately after Baptism — the priest 
being allowed also to confirm the former — was also applied 
to children. There was, during the Middle Ages, a tendency 
in the West, for example, in England, towards early Confir- 
mation, whereas elsewhere it was customary to wait until 
the years of discretion were reached. This latter practice became 
the general rule. 

The modern practice allows wider scope. The Roman Cate- 
chism suggests that it is desirable to defer it to the twelfth 
year. 101 The present Canon Law of the Church sets a lower 
age-limit when it introduces the possibility of an earlier date, 
for sick children or ob iustas et graves causas, with the words : 
"... although the administration of the sacrament of Con- 

100 This thought is developed by L. Bouyer, "Que signifie la Con- 
firmation?" in Paroisse ct Liturgie, Vol. 34 (1952), pp. 3-12; cf. also B. 
Leeming, op. cit., pp. 201-206. 

101 Callan and McHugh, op. cit., p. 208 (II, 3, 18^ : "If it does not seem 
well to defer (Confirmation) to the age of twelve, it is most proper to 
postpone this sacrament at least to that of seven years." 



firmation is, in the Latin Church, deferred fittingly until about 
the seventh year of age." (Can. 788) Present day practice moves 
between these two limits. Two schools of opinion are opposed 
to one another, as was shown by the Munich Catechetical 
Congress of 1928. 102 

One school of thought argued that Confirmation, as 
"the completion of Baptism", should follow as soon as pos- 
sible upon the reception of Baptism, and that for the child's 
religious development the grace of the sacrament should be 
secured early on. 103 The other school would defer the admin- 
istration of this sacrament to the time when childhood, and 
religious instruction, come to an end, and the child goes out 
to confront the world for the first time, so that this impor- 
tant transition might have the religious blessing of the sacrament. 
And this for two further reasons, firstly because Confirmation 
is not necessary for salvation and hence essentially of lesser 
urgency; secondly because as an "anointing", a strengthening, 

102 In both the papers of O. Etl, who favoured the administration of 
the sacrament the year following first Communion (in the third grade 
of school) and J. Gottler, who sought to have it placed during die last 
year of school (the compulsory school attendance). The discussion which 
followed inclined in favour of the last-mentioned solution; Zweiter 
Katechetischer Kongress Miinchen, 1928 (Donauworth: L. Auer, 1928), 
pp. 159-195; see F. H. Drinkwater, "Confirmation at Eleven Plus" in 
The Sower, No. 198 (Jan., 1956), pp. 5-6; J. Rickaby, "Why Confirm 
Before Fourteen?" m Month, Vol. 94 (1929), pp. 308-313; Studies and 
Conferences, "Instruction on the Age of Confirmation" in The American 
Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 87 (1932), pp. 513-515. 

103 This thought is expressed by G. Delcuve, "A Necessity for the 
Normal Efficacy of Religious Education; Confirmation at the Age of 
Reason" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 5 ( 4 1950), pp. 305-332. Delcuve asks whe- 
ther or not Russian spirituality and the mystical strain in Spain cannot 
be explained at least in part by early Confirmation (pp. 324-325). But 
is the perceptible increase of psychic powers purposed by this sacrament? 
And is the defection of so many recently confirmed simply the result 
of a delayed reception of this sacrament? Delcuve augments his historical 
argument considerably in Sloyan, op. cit., pp. 281-314. 



an equipment with the weapons of the Holy Ghost, it fits in 
well with this stage of the youthful development. 

The decisions of the Church would appear to leave the door 
open for such an approach because they require thorough 
catechetical instructions to precede the conferring of the 
sacrament. 104 The notion of Confirmation as completion of 

104 The Commission for the Interpretation of the Code was asked: 
Whether can. 788 must be understood in the sense that Confirmation 
could not be administered in the Latin Church before approximately the 
seventh year, other than in cases which were cited. The Commission gave 
the reply: "It is quite proper to begin the reception of the sacrament at 
about the seventh year" (June 16, 1931), AAS, Vol. 23 (1931), p. 353; cf. 
T. L. Bouscaren, Canon Law Digest (Milwaukee: Bruce), Vol. I (1931), p. 
348, but in this answer emphasized the words: ob iustas et graves causa s. 
Following this pronouncement another question was put to the Con- 
gregation of the Sacraments by the episcopates of Spain and South 
America, where there existed the custom of confirming children be- 
fore the use of reason, in fact immediately after Baptism: Whether 
this custom could be retained? On March 30, 1932, they received 
the answer: This custom may be retained, but the faithful should be 
taught the meaning of the universal law: Confirmation is to be pre- 
ceded by a catechesis which has proved to be so salutary: praemissa 
sacrae Confirmationis administrationi ilia catechesis instructione, quae tantum 
iuvat ad animos puerorum excolendos et in doctrina catholica solidandos, 
prout experientia docet; AAS, Vol. 24 (1932), p. 271; cf. T. L. Bouscaren, 
op. cit., p. 349. — By this reply it is evident that there is taken for granted 
a catechesis which goes far beyond what is demanded for first Com- 
munion (see p. 299). — Confirmation could be "the culmination and the 
consecration of religious training ", by which the children would be 
strengthened far beyond what would be possible through a first Com- 
munion catechesis, be it short or long, cf. P. Galtier, "1/ age de la con- 
firmation" in Nouvclle Revue Theologique, Vol.60 (1933), pp. 675-686, 
especially p. 685. In the decree of the Congregation of the Sacraments on 
the right of a priest to confirm sick children, all are reminded that in 
normal cases there is required : acqua praemissa catechesis instructione; AAS, 
Vol. 38 (1946), p. 350; T. L. Bouscaren, op. cit., Vol. Ill (1954), p. 314; 
cf. A. N. Fuerst, op. cit., Vol. I (1939), pp. 231-233; C. Zerba, Commen- 
tarius in Decretum " Spiritus Sancti Munera" (Rome: Libreria Editrice 
Vaticana, 1947). 



Baptism gives, indeed, no indication when this completion is 
supposed to take place. 105 It is, therefore, for the bishop to 
determine the time more precisely. In rural areas a later limit 
will probably be the rule for the majority of children, since the 
bishop has to visit his entire diocese only once every five years 
(can. 343). But even in the cities, where Confirmation is admi- 
nistered every year, it should not be permitted to follow im- 
mediately after first Communion. There should be an interval 
for the development of catechesis. 106 If Confirmation then 
forms another climax this would certainly add to the value of 
the catechesis and of the sacrament for which a more thorough 
preparation would at least not be worthless. 107 

The special preparation for the saaament should be given 
according to circumstances either as part of the regular cate- 
chesis or in some special lessons, and in this latter case, in the 
parish church, as some episcopal directives have prescribed. 
If Confirmation is to be conferred around Pentecost, the teach- 
ing on the very mystery of Pentecost will prove an excellent 
preparation. The Apostles received, as it were, their "Con- 
firmation" at Pentecost; they became visible expressions of the 
power of the Holy Spirit. Soon they themselves passed on 
Confirmation to the faithful. 108 Further material foh instruction 
is supplied by the ceremonies of Confirmation themselves : the 

105 In any case the Congregation of the Sacraments in its decree of 
June 30, 1932 (op. cit., pp. 271 f.) remarks that it is more in accordance 
(conformius) with the nature of Confirmation as the complementum 
haptismatis, if it precedes Holy Communion. To carry this out in practice 
is, however, difficult to reconcile with the demands enumerated in the 
preceding footnote. 

106 See above, footnote 104. 

107 At the Second Catechetical Congress in connection with a reso- 
lution accepted by a majority of the participants the wish was expressed 
that Confirmation "be conferred within a span of one or two years 
after first Communion", op. cit., p. 195. 

103 For this reason the Roman Catechism (II, 33, 22) (Callan and 



prayer of the bishop for the seven gifts, the anointing with oil, 
the sign of the cross on the forehead. 

But such a detailed preparation should not remain isolated in 
the religious instruction of the children. Upon it should be 
centred everything that the children have already heard of the 
workings of the Holy Spirit in us, of that divine life which 
begins in Baptism and, as it were, is a spark from the heart of 
the God-Man. Now this spark is to be fanned into a flame; the 
the fire is to gain in intensity. Examples of those who upheld 
their faith in adversity, especially the lives of youthful saints, 
should be given. Thus Confirmation catcchesis will go over 
the great themes of catechesis in general, just as the preceding 
catechesis will already have prepared the way for it. 109 The 
work of the catechist after Confirmation will, above all, be to 
awaken in the children, the more closely they approach the 
years of maturity, a consciousness of their calling as citizens in 
the kingdom of God, and as soldiers of Christ. 

Since the early Middle Ages a godparent has been required 
for Confirmation as well as for Baptism. At the present time his 
presence is still deemed desirable (can. 793), as a reserve for the 
parents. The godparent is to be the guarantor for the Christian 
education of the godchild. In many cases, and not merely in 

McHugh, p. 210) directs the pastor to explain the efficacy of this sacra- 
ment through the wonderful changes experienced by the Apostles 
themselves at Pentecost. 

109 Such a procedure can be found in L. Kammerlander, Firmlehre 
(Innsbruck: Rauch, 1947) and also in the Werkheft of J. Goldbrunner (see 
above footnote No. 70); G. M. Dennerle, I Receive the Holy Ghost 
(St. Paul: Catechetical Guild, 1936); Bishop Butt, A Confirmation Book 
for Boys (London: CTS, 1924); D. M. Dougherty, Confirmation for 
Children (New York: Paulist Press, 1934); J. Overend, Preparation for 
Confirmation (New York: Paulist Press, 1936); J. J. Morris, A Catechism 
of Confirmation (Forest Park, 111.: D. Farrell Co., 1955); R. E. Power, 
The Seal of the Spirit (College ville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1950), a text 
of the ceremonies of the sacrament with necessary explanations. 



the case of orphans, such a reserve is obviously necessary also 
today. The godparent at all events symbolizes the importance 
of the sacrament. By accepting him the parents express their 
concern for the spiritual welfare of their child. In some Catholic 
countries there exists a time-honoured custom for the children 
to visit their godparents on certain important Feast Days. This 
can strengthen the religious concept of godparentship. In fact, 
one of the most important tasks in the pastoral care of children 
is to fight against those worldly aspects by which the office of 
godparent is being threatened. 

7. Training in Chastity 

The age at which compulsory school attendance usually ends 
marks the beginning of sexual maturity. Youth about to go 
out into the world finds itself, at the same time, confronted by 
the dark forces of instinct eager to force it beyond the barriers 
set by God's commandments. There is the danger that the 
work which the catechist has built up through the years might 
collapse at this point. Training in chastity is, consequently, a 
subject which catechesis cannot afford to neglect if it is to be 
truly a part of the true spiritual care of children. 

This does not imply that in catechesis the catechist must 
devote much of his time to discussions of the virtue of chastity 
and similar matters. On this point educationalists are in agree- 
ment. The best teaching on sex is a sane, all round, education. 
Up to the last year of compulsory schooling it is indeed possible 
only by concentrating upon an all round education that any 
results might be achieved in this field. The children should 
certainly be told about modesty and what is meant by it: that 
some parts of the body should always be covered in the pre- 
sence of others, that they are not to be looked at unnecessarily, 
etc. The story of the sons of Noe may provide a suitable back- 



ground. The catechist may also use the term chastity, but he will 
not be able to explain, to the younger children, the precise differ- 
ence between modesty and chastity. 

He will have to content himself with fostering the all round 
education of the child and, in this respect, he should make a 
decisive contribution. If he succeeds in impressing upon the 
children that in all matters they must be guided by the will 
of God, that God is witness of all our acts and omissions; 
and especially if the children can be brought to enjoy their 
religion, their prayers, their attendance at Mass, he will have 
done the best thing he can for their training in chastity. 

When dealing with the sacraments, the catechist will point out 
that God honours our bodies for it is with them that we receive 
the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Commu- 
nion. Our body is as sacred as a church which must never be 
desecrated. Also the natural forces in the formation of character 
should not be neglected. Everything we do to train the children 
in the practice of self-mortification, neatness, cleanliness, obedi- 
ence and truthfulness is also the best kind of sex education. 
It is particularly important to develop their sense of enjoyment 
in little things — songs, stories, healthy games, natural beauty, 
walking, mental pursuits — so that their pleasure-seeking be 
confined to less perilous paths. 

More, however, will have to be done for the upper grades 
when the years of adolescence have begun. But even now 
considerable restraint is required of the catechist standing before 
his class. In the catechesis on chastity he will have to explain 
the sixth commandment. He must now clearly explain in 
what the sin of impurity consists : that there is an evil desire 
dormant in man which may awaken of its own accord, and 
that we must not consent to it. We must also take care not to 
arouse it by immodest acts, must guard against wicked company 
and conversation. Those who deliberately seek to gratify these evil 



desires or consent to them commit a grievous sin because they 
desecrate the temple of God. 110 The phrase "evil desire" 111 
may be open to objections since sexual desire is permissible in 
marriage, is designed for it, and is evil only insofar as it incites 
many to abuses outside marriage, but in the case of young people 
it is the abuses that will have to be considered. The expression 
will, however, be immediately understood by those who have 
had such experiences : others it will not deprive of their innocence. 
There is another still bolder course which the German cate- 
chism develops, and which is justified by present-day con- 
ditions. This catechism begins by a precise formulation of the 
sixth commandment: "Thou shalt not commit adultery", and 
immediately continues to explain the purpose of marriage, the 
procreation of children, and by this route arrives at a discussion 
of those powers which are dormant in a child, which awaken 
later but must be preserved by the young in purity and with 
discipline. 112 

In neither case should descriptions of physical details or sex 
education be given in catechesis to a whole class of children. 
In the case of children in the last year of school the catechist 
may speak in such a way as to presuppose an understanding of 
the essence of motherhood, and explain other matters connected 
with it, without arousing an unhealthy interest in the subject. 

110 Here the catechist should mention mortal sin. On the other hand, 
he should be careful not to describe every sin against modesty or "against 
the sixth commandment" in general as a grievous sin; cf. Th. Monnichs. 
Zur Katechese iiber das 6. (9.) Gcbot (5th/6th ed.; Munich: Kosel, 1928), 
G. Kelly, Modern Youth and Chastity (St. Louis: Queen's Work, 1941), 
pp. 88-89; S. J. Juergens, Fundamental Talks on Purity (Milwaukee: Bruce, 
1941), p. 25. 

111 The German catechism hitherto used the phrase " unchaste pleasure ". 

112 Look up the Commentary of Kl. Tilmann, KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), 
pp. 401-405; J. L. King, Sex Enlightenment and the Catholic (London: 
Burns, Oates, 1944), p. 6. 



When, for example, discussing the article of the Creed "con- 
ceived by the Holy Ghost", he may say quietly that the Child 
Jesus took up His dwelling under the heart of Mary and remained 
there for nine months until He was born. Similarly, when he 
has to use the words "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb", he 
may explain that Mary was the tabernacle for the divine Child 
and every expectant mother is her counterpart. Such thoughts 
will elucidate the mystery of motherhood in a dignified fashion. 
In this connection it will scarcely be possible, in the course of 
the ordinary catechesis, to deal with the detailed plan of God 
because the levels of education vary greatly, even among 
children in the same year of school. What might- be of help for 
one child might scandalize another. But it is even more widely 
recognized that even for a child of twelve years, some sex 
instructions are necessary. This is due to the fact that, owing to 
the influences exerted by our technological age, sexual maturity 
starts considerably earlier today; also to the fact that greater 
dangers threaten the child from without. 

The parents are generally considered to be those primarily 
responsible for giving this instruction, but it is a proved fact 
(it almost seems to be a law of nature) that parents having to 
face their own children show almost insurmountable inhibi- 
tions. 113 Only a very small percentage is able to overcome 
these. All that the parents can actually be asked to do is to 
take care that some responsible person relieves them of the 
task. To whom should they turn if, indeed, they have the 

113 F. Schneider, Katholische Familienerziehung (4th ed.; Freiburg: 
Herder, 1941), p. 295. "I hold that it is both Utopian and senseless to 
demand of the parents that they impart the necessary sex knowledge 
to their children, adjusted to their individual differences and their 
capacity." To explain the apparently insurmountable difficulty he refers 
to "a natural diffidence", the " incest barrier" (the diffidence engrained 
by fear of incest) which is also opposed to sexual relations among blood 
relatives even though strong emotional ties might exist (p. 294). 



courage to take such a step? Only rarely will they be sufficiently 
acquainted with an experienced teacher or conscientious 
physician to ask him to oblige. As a matter of fact, having 
considered the problem they will probably conclude that it is 
the priest who must help them. 114 The young people themselves 
expect above all to be helped by the priest. 115 But there are 
many who are opposed to this opinion and see in it a very 
definite risk. 116 The priest must be no source of scandal. He 
must not expose his calling to evil gossip. His sphere of activity 
is the spiritual realm. 

In any case, not every priest would consider himself capable 
of assuming such a task ; he must feel sure of himself and have 

114 Cl.Pereira, " Uber Auf klarung " in KBl, Vol.75 (1950), pp. 41 5-420, 
and as well as W. Smet, "A propos de l'initiation des enfants" in Nouvelle 
Revue Thiol., Vol. 68 (1946), pp. 44-60, and especially 50 ff., who arrives 
at the same conclusion; J. L. King, op. cit., pp. 25-27, p. 40, who does 
not think that it should be the priest in the confessional who should 
give this instruction. 

115 Kl. Tilmann, Vox der Reife (see below in footnote No. 117 a ), pp. 
35 f., reproduces the result of a questionnaire in which some thousand 
boys between fourteen and seventeen were asked whether the religion 
teacher should deal with these problems. An affirmative answer was 
given by 954. Cf. Kl. Tilmann, "Not und Aufgabe der geschlecht- 
lichen Erziehung" in KBl, Vol. 78 (1953), pp. 285-289; F. J. Connell, 
" Sex Instruction in High School" in The Catholic Educational Review, Vol. 
47 (1949), pp. 442-447, who points out some of the difficulties implicit 
in it. 

1J6 H. Mayer, Katechetik, agrees (pp. 129 f.) According to Der Seel- 
sorger, Vol. 22 (Vienna, 1951/1952), pp. 334f., the French bishops after 
their Conference (March, 1952) admonished the clergy "that in this 
question they should confine themselves to their spiritual office and 
to forming the conscience above all, leaving parents and physician 
to explain the facts and give the necessary details". The Bishops of England 
and Wales in their Joint Pastoral maintain: "In such cases (where some 
parents neglect their duty) the teacher or experienced youth-leader, 
animated by Christian charity and having the necessary competence, 
may be the best person to make up the deficiency" (J. L. King, op. cit., 
p. 56). 



the confidence of the children. The task should, if at all possible, 
be solved individually. The moment has to be chosen when 
there is a real need and when the happy period of ignorance 
must be ended. Furthermore, the priest should assume the task 
only after having been asked to do so by the parents. 

These may be conditions to be realized only in a good edu- 
cational institution of one kind or another, but scarcely in the 
case of the many who every year enter the danger zone. But 
should these be left to their fate? There must be some practical 
way out of the difficulty if we are to believe a German curate 
who reported that in his parish a "good sixty per cent" of the 
youngsters were told about the mystery of life by a priest, and 
this in the instructions before graduation. 117 This, however, 
appeared to him to be too late. 

If this, then, has been the experience with a wide circle of 
children, even more so should it be possible to take a carefully 
selected group of children who are considered to be in need 
of such instructions and to bring them together in the parish 
hall or presbytery. There they should be told a few things 
they ought to know because soon they will be children no 
longer. 117a But they should be warned not to speak about these 
matters among themselves. In any case it is advisable first to 

117 J. Erbach, "Die Gestalt des Religionsunterrichts in der Berufs- 
schule" in KBl, Vol. 75 (1950), pp. 244-253; Sr. M. A. Wagner, "Sex 
Education and the Catholic Girl" in The Catholic Educator, Vol. 20 
(1950), pp. 250-253. 

11 7a Help to impart instruction in such a procedure is given by Kl. 
Tilmann, Vox der Reife. Eine geschlechtliche Unterweisung der Jugend fiir den 
Gebrauch des Erziehers (6th ed.; Recklinghausen, 1952). A counterpart 
(opposite number) of this was composed by Ottilie Mosshamer, Dem 
Leben entgegen. Eine geschlechtliche Unterweisung der Mddchen fur die 
Hand der Mutter und Erzieher (5th ed.; Recklinghausen, 1952); S. J. 
Juergens, op. cit., offers a practical way of instruction for the use of 
priests and sisters; C. C. Martindale, The Difficult Commandment (London: 
Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1941), especially for boys. 



obtain the parents' permission, just in case they might want to 
take care of the matter in some other way. 

Instruction about the mystery of life should not be given all 
at once, but, if possible, in stages. The first stage should deal 
with the question of motherhood. The adolescent boy should 
also be told that the emissions which he may now experience 
during sleep are not signs of sickness but evidence that he is 
becoming a man. Only at a later stage should the boys be told 
about the mystery of fatherhood. Parallels drawn from plant- 
life, where the pollen must fertilize the pistil in order that the 
fruit may grow, will furnish the catechist with a suitable starting 
point. More important, however, than a wealth of physical 
details is to show the processes connected with the handing 
on of life "in the light of faith", 118 in the plans of the Creator, 
and thus simultaneously with the essentials to arouse a sense of 
wonder and holy respect. Such an explanation will have a 
liberating effect upon the children, and the admonition not to 
waste these precious powers by which man may share in God's 
creative might will surely fall upon good ground. 119 If the 
sacrament of Matrimony is seen as a consecration bestowing 
upon the parents the right to employ these powers, it will come 
to resemble the splendour of Holy Orders by which the priest 
is equipped for his vocation. 120 

If such oral instructions are not thought feasible there is the 
possibility of finding suitable books and pamphlets which have 
been written with this purpose in mind. 121 A specially chosen 

118 Im Glanhenslicht was the title of a later edition of Erziehung zur 
Keuschheit by M. Gatterer (Innsbruck: Felizian Rauch, 1910); (C. Van 
Der Dockt, trans.), Educating to Purity (New York: F. Pustet Co., 1913). 

119 A. Shamon, "Sex and Seniors" in The Catholic Educator, Vol. 21 
(1950), pp. 199-201; cf. H. Schilgen, Im Dienst des Schopfers (Kevelaer: 
Bercker, 1922), esp. pp. 9-12. 

120 Gatterer, pp. 646 f. 

m Here is a list of books that may be found helpful : For the Children : 



book might be lent to the children, who should be asked to 
return it after some time. When it is returned there will be an 
opportunity to say a few words which will relieve any embar- 
rassment, as well as to give any advice that might be needed. 

A timely teaching about the mystery of life in a truly Chris- 
tian manner will prevent or lessen some of the dangers threaten- 
ing the purity of the children, especially those dangers which 
result from the kind of gross and brutal enlightenment that can 
be found elsewhere. 

The positive side of training for chastity may be found in the 
fact that the beauty of a pure life and, beyond that, the richness 
of truly Christian conduct, can inspire enthusiasm in the young. 

Anonymous, Growing Up (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1946); 
Anonymous, Into Their Company (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1931); 
Paul Edwards, Sex and the Teen-Ager (New York: Paulist Press, 1951); 
C. C. Martindale, The Difficult Commandment (New York: Kenedy & 
Sons, 1925); Mary E. McGill, Into a Man's World (Huntington: Our 
Sunday Visitor, 1938); Fulgence Meyer, Safeguards of Chastity (Cincinnati: 
Mountel Press, 1929); idem, Helps to Purity (Cincinnati: Mountel Press, 
1956); Lionel E. Pire, The Heart of a Young Man (New York: Pustet, 
1931). — For the Teacher: Eugene Boylan, What Is Chastity? How to 
Give the Instructions (Dublin: Clonmore, 1954); Joseph Buckley, Christian 
Design for Sex (Chicago: Fides, 1952); Maryse Choisy, Problemes Sexuels 
de V Adolescence (Paris: Aubier, 1954); Baron Frederick von Gagern, 
(Meyrick Booth, trans.), Difficulties in Sex Education (Cork: Mercier, 
1953); Thomas Gilby, Morals and Marriage: the Catholic Background to 
Sex (New York: Longmans, 1952); M. S. Gillet (I. E. Ross, trans.), 
Innocence and Ignorance (New York: Devin-Adair, 1917) ; Luisa Guarnero, 
L'educazione sessuale (Milano: La Casa, 1951); Joseph Haley, Accent on 
Purity (South Bend: Fides, 1948); Kilian Hennrich, Watchful Elders 
(2nded.; Milwaukee: Bruce, 1954); J.Leycester King, Sex Enlightenment 
and the Catholic (London: Burns, Oates, 1944); John A. O'Brien, 
Sex-Character Education (New York: Macmillan, 1952); Jerome O'Hea, 
Sex and Innocence (Cork: Mercier, 1950); Aidan Pickering, Sex Instruction 
in the Home (London: CTS, 1950); Henry Sattler, Parents, Children and 
the Facts of Life (Paterson: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1952); Edgar J. 
Schmiedeler (ed.), The Child and Problems of Today (St. Meinrad: Grail 
Press, 1954). 



It is also to be found in a joyous imitation of Christ and an 
active preparation in the liturgical and sacramental life of the 
Church. The sacrament of Penance will necessarily be of 
special importance in these dangerous years. 

8. Leaving School 

For all those youngsters who do not attend secondary schools 
the period of intensive religious instruction by means of regular 
catechesis ends about the fourteenth year. The young people 
then start earning their own living. 

For youth in the country, who may remain under the paren- 
tal roof, this transition is likely to be less abrupt. But die young 
people in the city who will be starting work in factories, shops 
or officies enter, for the most part, into an entirely different 
world. If hitherto they have been well protected in school 
and home, they are now suddenly confronted by various forms 
of evil such as pleasure seeking and loose morals. If this age- 
]evel involves a sudden great change merely on account of its 
physical and mental development the transition from school to 
wage earning will, in most cases, amount to a complete revo- 
lution. The young people ought at least to meet this transi- 
tion with open eyes. Catechesis has thus to play a decisive role. 

It has been traditional in certain countries to invest the last 
religious instructions with a special character. Prizes are distri- 
buted and special consideration is given to those who are 
leaving school; these might receive a suitable present such as a 
prayerbook or other token of their religion. But even this is 
not sufficient to prepare them for the new phase of their lives 
which is confronting them. In the nineteenth century it was 
customary in many Continental dioceses to hold the first 
Communion ceremonies simultaneously with the dismissal 
of school leavers. This was an impressive and religious climax 



owing to long and thorough preparation. Subsequent attempts 
to give similar importance to Confirmation have not been 

Yet something had to be done and all the more so because 
since the beginning of this century a secular consecration rite 
modelled upon Protestant confirmation had been developed 
in agnostic circles on the Continent. Thus, since the end of the 
First World War, special instructions for those leaving school 
have been introduced. These concluded with a festive celebra- 
tion. In some German dioceses special regulations were issued 
to cover these instructions, for example, at Trier, Osnabrlick 
(1920) and Freiburg (1933). 122 

How should the school leaving instructions be organized? 
Some weeks or even months before the actual end of the school- 
year the treatment of the subject should be completed. Cate- 
chesis can then be given a different emphasis; all school-like 
aspects will be relegated to the background. Some general 
outlines, which will serve as guiding principles for Christian 
living, can be derived from what has been learned during the 
past years. This can be done by a special series of summarized 
catecheses. 123 But the impression should be avoided that this is 
mere fatiguing repetition. It has therefore been suggested 124 to 
use two basic formulas for this recapitulation which ought to 

122 p Weiler and M. Weis, Schulentlassung — Lehensweihe (Diisseldorf, 
1935), pp. 8f. — This book contains a theoretical introduction to the 
problem (pp. 7-26), a number of catecheses as well as an outline for 
conducting a solemnity for school leavers (graduates). 

123 Weiler und Weis treat in twenty-one catecheses : the plan of God, 
the existence of God as well as the chief points in the doctrine of the Ten 
Commandments and of the Sacraments. Perhaps twenty-one catecheses 
might be found to be too numerous. — More practically organized are 
the sixteen catecheses of F. Gabriel, Schulentlassungsunterricht nehst Exer- 
zitienvortragen and Ansprachen (2nd ed.; Padcrborn: Schoningh, 1927). 

124 Bopp, Katechetik, pp. 302 f. 



accompany the Catholic throughout his life: the Apostles' 
Creed and the Lord's Prayer. In the former an outline of 
Christianity is formulated, in the latter the practical attitude of 
the individual Christian is drawn up. Something of a map for 
the future is to emerge. 125 According to the circumstances of 
the children some form of warning against the dangers facing 
them might here be appropriate. 

On some suitable occasion before the children leave school a 
day of recollection or, even better, a triduum, might be held to 
mark, in a religious form, the end of childhood and the new 
beginning. In the early days retreats for school leavers (gradu- 
ates) were frequently proposed and many books and pamphlets 
were published for such retreats. 126 It was soon recognized — and 
anyone who has tried the experiment will confirm it — that 
children lack the maturity for making retreats even when given 
in a simple form. If the children are of good will, they will use 
a good deal of their energy simply in trying to remain silent. 
They cannot stand being lectured at and meditation is not 
intended for them. Relaxation, games, songs and recreation 
are preferable, although the sense of recollection and the practice 
of self-examination need not be dispensed with. 127 There might 
be periods of silence, perhaps between two lectures. Lay helpers, 

125 The catechist tells the boys to look up passages in the School 
Bible which could be used as memory tests. Having checked them, he 
will ask individual pupils to write the text in artistic lettering, perhaps 
on a piece of polished wood which can be given out on the last day at 
school and kept to decorate the wall. K. Gutmann, KBl, Vol. 71 (1946), 
pp. 157f. 

126 Especially stressed by J. Strater, Die Heilung der Kinderwelt. An- 
leitung zur Abhaltung von Exerzitien fiir Kinder (3rd ed.; Dulmen, 1922); 
D. Egan, "Try an Eighth Grade Retreat" in The Catholic Educator , Vol. 23 
(1953), pp. 345-346; Sr. M. St. Angela, "The Retreat Movement " in 
The Catholic Educator, Vol. 24 (1954), pp. 493-494. 

127 A complete plan as well as complete instructions for three days, 
J. Wisdorf, Entscheidung, Jungentage zur Schulentlassung (Haus Alten- 



youth leaders, a suitable teacher or, in the case of girls, women 
parish helpers, should take care of the external arrangements. 
The priest should always be available for the youngsters. 
Above all a good Confession should free them from past 
mishaps and serve as a basis for a fresh start. 

If several days of recollection cannot be held, 128 a single such 
day might be possible; otherwise the topics to be dealt with 
might be distributed over the last few weeks at school, endowing 
these with a more religious and practical character. A pilgrimage 
to some shrine with the recitation of the rosary, group songs, 
and games on the way, would be remembered for a long time 
to come. 

The conclusion should be the school leaving ceremony 
itself. If this is sponsored by the school care should be taken 
that the religious note is assured. Some German dioceses 
have issued regulation for such a day of graduation. 129 It is to be 
held in church in the presence of the congregation, preferably 
in connection with Sunday Mass. The boys and girls who are 
about to leave school enter together, to the accompaniment of 

berg, 1950); idem, Weg und Weisung. Madchentage zur Schulentlassung 
(Haus Altenberg, 1951). — Of the same type cf. Chr. Allroggen, Tage der 
Entscheidung, Einkehrtage fiir Jungen zur Zeit der Schulentlassung (Diissel- 
dorf, 1940); F. G. Meyer, Jesus and His Pets (Cincinnati, Ohio: St. 
Anthony Monastery, 1925). 

128 Schools in rural communities, which usually produce only a few 
who will leave each year might, as Wisdorf suggests, group together on a 
deanery basis for the purpose of holding three days of recollection in any 
one of the various ways that have been recommended. 

129 In the German diocese of Miinster a diocesan synod laid down the 
regulation in 1924 : "The closing of the school year is marked by a gradua- 
tion ceremony consisting of a renewal of baptismal vows, Holy Com- 
munion in a body, benediction and sermon " Weiler-Weis, op. cit.j p. 10. — 
In other places, e. g., the dioceses of Freiburg and Wiirzburg, a precise 
ritual for such celebrations is contained in the diocesan Hymnal and 
Prayerbook. In Innsbruck-Feldkirch (and in unison, Salzburg) these 
ceremonies were incorporated into the Collectio rituum (1951). 



a hymn, and are seated in the front pews. A short talk by the 
priest is followed by a renewal of baptismal vows, 130 or, in a 
slightly different form, a promise of fidelity is recited and 
followed by prayers for the school leavers from the congrega- 
tion. If those who are leaving are permitted to make an Offertory 
procession and to be the first to receive Holy Communion the 
seriousness of the occasion will not be lost upon them, especially 
if parents and teachers also join them. Details of the celebra- 
tion, for example, the allocation of seats or the use of candles, 
could best be discussed with the children themselves. 

9. Learning a Trade 

It is generally recognized that the young people who will 
continue their studies for many years need special religious 
guidance. It is equally obvious that young artisans, too, should 
not be abandoned in these years of adolescence. 131 Some have 
suggested that these young people need a religious "closed 
season". The repudiation of what has gone before may, 
indeed, appear to be a repudiation of all religious influences, 
but, in reality, it suggests the struggle and the search for a 
new direction. 132 

130 If school should close before Easter, this graduation exercise 
could be joined to the celebration of the Restored Easter Vigil: the 
graduating class is seated together in a place of honour in church. 

131 The course of study and the methodology of religious instruction 
on the secondary school level and beyond are not included in the planning 
of this book. Assumptions and goals are so very diverse that they cannot 
be treated suitably in a short compass. For those interested, consult 
Mayer, pp. 173-192. Only the cardinal points will be treated in the follow- 
ing chapter of this, the second edition of this book. — J. A. Coyne, 
"What is Vocational Education?" in The Catholic School Journal, Vol. 53 
(1953), pp. 7-9. 

132 R. Allers, Character Education in Adolescence (New York: J. F. 
Wagner, 1940), pp. 16-20; T. J. Vittoria, Adolescent Conflicts (Young- 
stown, Ohio: Society of St. Paul, 1951), pp. 23-30. 



Monsignor Pfliegler, an Austrian priest, understands 
this when he says that "not only do these adolescents not need 
a 'closed season' in religious instruction but, on the contrary, 
this is the age having the greatest religious problems. What 
they require is not protection from religion but protection of 
their sensitiveness' \ 133 They can be helped on their way by a 
sympathetic understanding of their spiritual situation in which 
childish reasoning is now being left behind. The catechist 
ought to help in the transformation of their faith from the 
childish forms in which it has been assimilated into adult ideas, 
and to find the answers to the questions which now concern 
young workers more directly than, for example, university 
students. 134 Especially in regard to religious training, it is true 
to say that a young man has to absorb the subject matter 
of instruction on three different occasions during the course of 
his development. First, in the lower grades of the elementary 
school, by way of images and pictures; then, in the upper 
grades, through a sober recognition of facts; and finally through 
intellectual understanding with an eye to practice. 135 To dispense 
with this third stage of training would be tantamount to building 
a house without a roof. 

133 Pfliegler, Vol. II, p. 129. Pfliegler quotes a passage from A. Fischer 
who characterizes adolescence as that phrase of development in which 
there is a "psychological optimum" for questions of ideology. — Pflieg- 
ler, Der rechte Augenblick (5th ed.; Vienna: Herder, 1948), pp. 79f. 

134 J. W. Binder, "Der Religionsunterricht an den Berufsschulen" 
in ChPBl, Vol. 63 (1950), pp. 221-224. In the U.S.A. some of these prob- 
lems are handled by die Junior Newman Clubs because the number of 
purely Catholic industrial schools is not over-great. See J. A. Coyne, 
"Teachers and Curriculum for Shop Courses" in The Catholic School 
Journal, Vol. 53 (1953), pp. 119-120, who allots three periods of religion 
for the Freshman, Sophomore and Junior years, and three periods for 
Catholic Sociology in the Senior year (p. 120). 

135 Eggersdorfer, p. 111. — Similarly G. Delcuve, "Le probleme de 
la formation religieuse dans le monde moderne" in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 4 



Participation in some youth organization or regular atten- 
dance at a course of religious instruction held within the parish 
can certainly produce the same results. 136 In both cases, how- 
ever, as experience has shown, only a small section of young 
people is reached. In some Catholic areas religious traditions 
are still so much alive that public opinion insists on attendance 
at regular post-graduation instruction. 137 In general, however, 
the great majority of the less zealous, and therefore, the more 
endangered, can be reached only within the framework of an in- 
stitution specially designed to attract modern youth, but which 
includes in its programme either lectures on certain days 

(1949), pp. 209-232. The three degrees are named: early infancy, 
adolescence, advent of maturity. The exceptional importance accorded 
to this third period is manifestly the reason why the dioceses of Holland 
instituted a special course of instruction for young people of eighteen 
years of age. This course ends with an examination. If it is successful, 
the young people are dispensed from the obligation of taking catechetical 
courses in preparation for marriage. — See also the reports of the Diocese 
of Utrecht, in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 4 (1949), p. 359; of the diocese of Roer- 
mond, in Der Seelsorger, Vol. 22 (Vienna, 1952), pp. 335 f. 

136 when catechetical instructions are not given in these technical 
schools, as is largely the case in Britain and the United States, they might 
be provided by means of regular parish meetings, such as the so-called 
"hours of faith" which have become so popular in some Continental 
countries. For conditions in Vienna: F. Steiner, "Zur Glaubensstunde 
der Jugend" in ChPBl, Vol. 62 (1949), pp. 23f. In the U.S.A. : in general 
the CYO, the Sodality (Prima Primaria), and the Legion of Mary 
try to give their members religious instruction and a religious for- 
mation, both directly and indirectly. See, for example, Catholic 
Youth Council, Youth Department Manual, Diocese of Buffalo (Buffalo : 
Chancery, Catholic Youth Council), pp. 58-60. 

137 Cf. above, p. 25 f. — Concerning conditions in Switzerland and the 
possibilities of a more extensive programme, cf . F. Biirkli, Handbuch der 
Katechetik (Einsiedeln: Benziger, 1943), pp. 257-260. In the U.S.A., 
Confraternity Classes are the only (or practically the only) means that 
we have of reaching the neglected youth in such schools. The Reports of 
the various Proceedings (National Congresses) contain informational 
material on this score. 



or on half-days during the working week, or specific courses 
lasting weeks, as in continuation, 138 technical or trade schools. 

If the technical or vocational school has as its objective 
something more than a mere increase in the technical knowledge 
of the pupil, if it is to form men and women, religion, as an 
element of formation, must be included in its make-up. 139 
It ought to be a part of the syllabus of every vocational school. 140 

Under no circumstances should the lack of suitable teachers 
serve as an excuse for ecclesiastical authorities not to avail 
themselves of this opportunity of preaching the Gospel. It 
should be generally possible to take the able catechists who 
understand adolescents away from the instruction of small chil- 

138 I. L. Kandel, Comparative Education (New York: Houghton, 
Mifflin, 1933), p. 144; H. N. Rivlin and H. Schueler, Encyclopedia of 
Modern Education (New York: Philosophical Library, 1943) : " Since 1933, 
compulsory continuation schools are no longer common (i. e. in the 
U.S.A.) because the minimum entrance age in most industrial states has 
been raised for workers in industry to sixteen or eighteen years. The New 
York State's Regent Inquiry into the Character and Cost of Public Education 
recommended in 1938 the complete abandonment of continuation 
schools" (p. 183 — "Continuation School"); idem, "Vocational Educa- 
tion", pp. 882-883, for pertinent material on types, etc. 

139 On the development of the legal position in Germany, cf. P. West- 
hoff, "Der Religionsunterricht an Berufsschulen" in Die Kirche in der Welt 
(Loseblatt-Lexikon), Vol. I (1947/1948), pp. 211-214; W. Vospohl, 
"Berufsschule und Religionsunterricht" in Lexikon der Padagogik, Vol. I 
(1952), pp. 413-415. Consult KBl, Vol. 77 (1952), p. 47. In Austria, Tyrol 
and Upper Austria only have prescribed religion periods for the Vocational 
Schools; cf. J. A. Coyne, loc. cit., in Footnote No. 134; cf. also idem, 
"Vocational Education: A Case History" in The Catholic School Journal , 
Vol. 53 (1953), pp. 180-181. 

140 There should be, at least, in order to emphasize the voluntary 
character of such instructions, the possibility of non-attendance. Permission 
should be granted, however, not only at the request of the pupil, but 
with the consent of the parents; though not perhaps in the first year. 
It is of course assumed that religion will not to be relegated to those 
inconvenient late hours which create the impression that these in- 
structions are no more than disagreeable prolongations of school. 



dren, especially in the lower grades, by replacing them by lay 
teachers as has already been done in many dioceses. 

The choice of catechesis material for these schools has been 
the subject of much discussion, although some agreement has 
already been reached. Whereas formerly the main parts of the 
catechism were simply taken up again, though in presentation 
some consideration was shown for the spiritual problems of 
the pupils, 141 it is now recognized that the need is not so much for 
a logical and systematic presentation but for an understanding 
of the psychological state of these young people, their problems 
and questions. There should be no systematic repetition of 
instruction but the young people's problems should be dealt 
with in the light of the faith, that faith which inspires the catc- 
chist himself. The catechist should not begin with God and then 
treat of Christ, the Church, the sacraments and the moral law. 
He should begin rather with the sacramental life, discuss our 
attitudes towards it and the frustrations we experience, and only 
then delve into those matters which cast light and clarity on 
Christian living. 142 

All instructions will thus inevitably converge upon the person 

141 As samples of the kind of instruction to be given, consult the three 
small volumes of H. Stieglitz in which the former head of the Munich 
Catechetical Movement attempted to adapt to the mentality of the 
students of the continuation schools, dogma, the moral lav/, and the 
doctrine of grace: Ein glauhensstarker Christ; Ein luillensstarkcr Christ; 
Ein ganzer Christ (Kempten: Kosel und Pustet, 1921/22). 

142 w. Vospohl - J. Solzbacher, Die werktatige Jugend in der Entschci- 
dung fur das grossere Lehen. Grundsatze und Anregungen fur den Religions- 
unterricht an den Berufsschulen (Freiburg: Herder, 1950). — Cf. Sr. M. 
Amadeus, "I Am the Way" in The Catholic Educator, Vol. 20 (1950), pp. 
303-306 ; Raoul Plus, Radiating Christ (London : Burns, Oates & Wash- 
bourne, 1936) ; G. Delcuve, "What is the Point of Contact Between Re- 
ligion and Modern Youth?" with two other papers bearing on the same 
theme, in The Journal of Religious Instruction, Vol. 10 (1940), pp. 11-22, 
103-126, 196-215 : "How Shall We Present Religious Values to the Chil- 
dren and Adolescents of Today?", pp. 320-334. 



of Christ. A greater understanding of the different mysteries of 
the faith will result from His being seen as the God-Man. His 
impressive appearance, the testimony which He gives of Him- 
self, His invitation to follow Him, His kingship as the trans- 
figured head of the Church, will do more to inspire the young 
to believe in Him and practice His teaching than philosophical or 
theological arguments which are, of necessity, abstract, and 
outside their sphere of interests. 143 Naturally, an introduction 
to the theological understanding of Christ's person should be 
given at some suitable point, but it is not necessary to produce 
elaborate proofs for the existence of God, the possibility and 
necessity of revelation, etc. In this respect it will suffice to 
recall the means of arriving at a natural knowledge of God and 
in so doing to guard against the attraction of pantheism. 

An important task on the level of post-school catechesis will 
be to run over the principal points of Christian doctrine. 
Obviously the catechist must touch upon topical problems and 
marginal difficulties arising from the natural sciences and 
history, but this should be done by stressing the basic harmony 
which exists between faith and science, rather than by a too 
apologetic approach. 

Other problems troubling the young people, such as those con- 
cerning their work or their professions, also sexual and family 
problems, should also be discussed in the light of faith. 

The life of the young is now filled by their jobs and by earning 
their own living. The work they have to do may be depressing. 
There is the danger that they may show little interest in it, 
regarding the job as an unpleasant way of earning a living. It 

143 J. Backes, "Ein Beitrag zur wissenschaftlichen Grundlage einer 
christozentrischen Glaubensverkiindigung an die reifende Jugend" in 
Pastor bonus, Vol. 52 (Trier, 1941), pp. 167-168. For the contrary view- 
point, see Br. A. Victor, "Apologetics" in La Salle Catechist (Autumn, 
1952), pp. 237-251. 



should, therefore, be shown that work fits in with the plan 
of God as sharing in his creative act, as a sound exercise of the 
powers of mind and body, as a way of harmonious cooperation 
in the myriad divisions of labour. The words "vocation" and 
"calling" point to God, who in His providence has called men 
to fill different posts in the great workshop of the world. Thus 
young people can be made to understand their daily work in 
terms of service to God, to be consecrated and elevated in 
the divine service on Sunday. The ethics of workers and 
professional people can thus be given new basis and meaning. 
Naturally it would be an advantage if the catechist knows 
something of working conditions in the particular industry 
in which his students are employed. He will then appreciate 
their difficulties more easily and also gain their respect. 

The second group of vital problems arises from the crisis of 
puberty. As we have said before, the catechist may take it for 
granted that at this age level the young people possess the relevant 
knowledge, or perhaps by presupposing that, he may add to 
it. If there are arrangements for a three years course of studies 
some experienced priests have recommended that the relevant 
theme should be treated twice thoroughly. The first time, as a 
series of problems concerning the preservation of chastity, 
from the standpoint of personal morality; the second time, as 
a problem concerning marriage and the family, more from the 
standpoint of the community. 144 The catechist should unfold 
the divine order, telling of the blessings which are contained in 
its observance. The young people, hungry as they are for life, 
should be made to realize that here, as elsewhere, the Christian 
commandment is not against life but seeks to subject man's 
lower faculties^to his higher ones. 

In the case of the technical school it is very difficult to draw 

144 L. Wolker, Der Religionsunterricht in der Fortbildungsschule (Freiburg: 
Herder, 1926). In this sense is conceived a series of catecheses on this 



up precise plans for the choice of topics, because such a cate- 
chesis should be linked in some way with concrete experience 
which here will vary greatly. 145 Also there will not always be 
the same amount of time available. 146 That is why generally the 
teacher-pupil discussions will be more important than the lecture 
or even the formal steps of catechesis. The young people should 
feel able to speak out openly and feel that their difficulties, 
simple as they may be, ai*e being taken seriously. Home work 
is no longer the order of the day. Written work will be under- 
taken only in order to help elucidate the matter. 147 

At the end of their training these boys should have imprinted 
firmly on their minds the ideal of a young Christian, whose 
feet are firmly planted on this earth, but who looks to Him 
who preceded us triumphantly through the darkness of this 
world, and whose name he bears. Religious education need 
not, however, end with this catechesis. Adults, too, need to 
continue to receive spiritual nourishment and inspiration 
through reading, hearing suitable sermons and possibly through 
courses on Christian doctrine, 148 and, above all, by means of a 
Sunday Mass that has been suitably adapted to their needs. 

subject for the first and for the third year by J. Decking, Katechesen fur 
reifende Jugend (4th ed.; Freiburg: Herder, 1949), pp. 90-123, 273-326. 

145 It is significant that Vospohl-Solzbacher (see Footnote No. 142) — 
have proposed two entirely different teaching plans for the young men 
and women, because they rightly recognized the guiding principles for 
each will have to be different. That is why these authors in their plan 
concentrated on the most acute problems: sequence and the inner con- 
nexion of topics and questions are the teacher's responsibility. 

146 Whereas Decking (see above) envisaged 100 religion periods in 
a three years' course. L. Kammerlander proposed only sixteen in the 
first of two courses. J. A. Coyne apportions three hours a week for one 
year of Catholic sociology (in the above Footnote No. 134). 

147 Briefe an junge Menschen, which appeared in Haus Altenherg in 1953, 
is a welcome help for the catechist. 

148 For the revival of interest in Christian Doctrine see J. Peitzmeier 
''Christenlehre" in Theologie und Glaube, Vol. 41 (1951), pp. 495-498. 


10. Secondary Schools 

The years spent at a secondary school are a period marked by 
the greatest inward transitions. It is obvious that religious instruc- 
tion at this time has a special task to fulfill. It should serve as a 
signpost for these boys and girls. It should supply them with 
the answers to the doubts and difficulties which are typical of 
their age and development; it should help them to make cor- 
rect judgements in matters of faith and, indeed, bring about the 
possible contact between faith and their ordinary thinking. 
They should make up their minds concerning all kinds of 
problems, arising either from their instruction in secular sub- 
jects, 149 or from current ideas. A further task for religious 
instruction at this level will be not only to strengthen personal 
convictions in matters of faith, but also to instil a sense of respon- 
sibility for others and a readiness to help, in a truly Christian 
spirit, those who might be in need. 150 This is all the more im- 
portant because many of those who attend these schools are 
likely, later on, to occupy important positions in the commu- 

The premises for reaching this objective are relatively favour- 
able. 151 The number of class hours is not limited to an absolute 

149 Many branches of knowledge challenge the viewpoint of theology, 
so that religious instruction must lay that foundation upon which all 
individual branches of science must rest. See K. Schiimmer and J. 
Schippenkotter, Christliche Hohere Schule als Unterrichtsgestalt (Cologne, 

150 For the ends of education and what follows from them, see: 
H. Rosseler, Geist und Gehalt des katholischen Religionsunterrichtes der 
Hoheren Schule (Cologne, 1910); W. J. McGucken, The Philosophy 
of Catholic Education (New York: America Press, n. d.), pp. 22-31; 
Sr. M. Janet, Catholic Secondary Education — A National Survey (Washing- 
ton: NCWC, 1949), pp. 68-71. 

151 By this we do not mean to say that religious instructions alone 
suffice. It always remains true that those who are studying should partici- 
pate in some kind of outside activity or youth group. Within the school 



minimum as in technical schools. In most European secondary 
schools two hours a week are allotted to religious instruction, 
and, since the schooling lasts, on an average, for eight or nine 
years, 152 the students are open to religious influence for a com- 
paratively long time. 153 Moreover, they are likely to be drawn 
from all classes of society, even those estranged from their 
religion, so that contacts are possible with many who would 
not normally be reached. Their mental equipment, too, is, 
on the whole, promising. Their spiritual development occurs 
more quietly than in the case of those who have gone 
to work. Provided there are stable conditions in the family the 
difficulties which they have to meet are fewer than is the case 

it will be advisable to get the pupils to take up some kind of religious or 
social activity. The religion teacher might also choose from among the 
more zealous students one or several "associates" who are respected by 
their fellows and may be able to have some good influence on them. From 
them the teacher can learn most quickly what problems are actualy 
troubling the class. Naturally he should guard against the "informer type". 
S. Stapleton, "How the Catholic School Prepares the Students for Parish 
Activities" in NCEA Proceedings and Addresses, Vol. 49 (1952/53), pp. 

152 In many places it has become possible to introduce a so-called 
"core course". In addition to the ordinary two periods (the core) a week, 
two additional hours have been added. In these the students who are 
willing to join can discuss some particular subject in the form of a 
"working group" under the guidance of the teacher. On this subject see 
J. Weiss, "Religionsunterricht im Kern-Kurssystem" in Religion und 
Weltanschauung (= RW), Vol 7. (1952), pp. 190ff. 

153 In the U.S.A. the division of schooling differs from the European 
that is being discussed here. The earliest years are spent in grammar schools 
(elementary) with the usual eight years, then come four years of high school 
(secondary schools), although there is sometimes a further sub-division 
introduced, viz., junior high 7, 8 and 9, and senior high 10, 11 and 12; 
college (four years) and university (generally from 2-4 years depending 
on the type of subject in which the student majors and the type of degree 
he aims to achieve, as well as his capacities). F. Cassidy, "The Reorganiza- 
tion of the Catholic School System of Education" in The Catholic 
Educational Review, Vol. 45 (1947), pp. 265-271. 



with those who earn their own living. Generally, they show a 
much greater interest in religious instruction than they will 
often admit. 154 They expect much from it because they feel 
that it deals with questions which affect them deeply, though 
generally they will be less concerned with truth, as such, than 
with other vital problems. Religious instruction will have to 
take this into consideration and deliberately attempt to answer 
some of the questions and difficulties, different as they will be 
in all phases of development. While interests are mainly objec- 
tive during the early years, the beginning of puberty is accom- 
panied by a subjective phase. Now there are sexual difficulties 
for which solutions are sought; other problems too, connected 
with character formation, caused perhaps by conflicts with 
family or society, take precedence. Later on there will be ques- 
tions concerning a future job and the first love affair. At this 
age, too, interest awakens in problems of a philosophical and 
ideological nature. It is for the teacher of religion to find the 
right word at the right time for all. Then, and only then, will 
his instructions succeed in that chief concern of all religious 
training, the formation of Christian personality. 

This consciously pastoral goal of religious instruction will 
necessarily also largely influence its form. It is today widely 
recognized that secondary schools should not be mere institu- 

154 By means of a questionnaire submitted to the students of an Aus- 
trian trade school, 173 from a total of 306 acknowledged the necessity 
of religious instruction; practically all said that they liked going to the 
religion classes and had listened with interest to the instruction, but the 
topics that had been discussed and evidently officially prescribed did not 
find universal acceptance, Orhis Catholicus, Vol. 1 (1948), p. 489. 
E. Havemann and P. S. West, They Went To College (New York: Har- 
court, Brace, 1952); although an empirical investigation (non-Catholic 
source) of college graduates, it is informative and startling : 89 per cent, 
of Catholic women who had attended such colleges were church-goers, 
and 79 per cent, of the Catholic men. 



tions of scholarship, and that religious instruction, above all, 
should be free from intellectualism. 155 It is justly required that 
the choice of topics should be confined to these matters which are 
really important for Christian practice, the truths of faith and 
morality. These should form the essential core of the instruction 
and everything else will be in addition. It would, therefore, be 
laughable, indeed irresponsible, to overtax the memories of 
these young people with extensive knowledge of ecclesiastical, 
artistic and liturgical matters. In fact, not even the study of 
scripture should be conducted on academic lines, for this would 
result in the accumulation of a mass of knowledge which could 
not, anyhow, be utilized in later life. This is not to suggest that 
such matter should be entirely dispensed with. It has its place 
in the instruction on the secondary level, in fact a very impor- 
tant place, but we must appreciate its function clearly. The 
content of religious instruction is important only in so far as it 
serves to elucidate, as vividly as possible, the leading truths of 
Christian doctrine and morality. Their understanding and rea- 
lization is more important. 

Structure and arrangement of the subject-matter will also, 
for the sake of the pastoral objective, have to be designed to 
express the value and character of the deposit of faith. To 

155 Concerning the attempts being made to give a new form to reli- 
gious instruction on the secondary level, see Rosseler, loc. cit. Supporters 
of the work of reform were especially the religion teachers who belonged 
to teachers' groups, especially those who were associated with the "Nord- 
westdeutsche Religionsverband" which in many discussion and working 
groups and, last but not least, through their review, Religion and Welt- 
anschauang, paved the way for a new form of religious instruction in Ger- 
many. In the diocese of Cleveland a new method of approach to religious 
instruction on this level was made in the four volume series, C. E. Elwell, 
et al., Quest for Happiness (Chicago: Mentzer-Bush). For an evaluation of 
this series, see A. Leonard, "Textbooks in the United States of America" 
in Lumen Vitae, Vol. 6 (1951), pp. 521-525. See also: V. Monty, "Un 
manuel de religion" in Relations (Sept., 1956), pp. 244-245. 



accomplish this it will be necessary to depart both from the old 
system of dividing the catechism text into separate sections on 
faith, the sacraments, and morals, and from the methods of 
systematic theology. Both are too rigid and one-sided to be 
useful for vivid instructions. Revelation, which, after all, is a 
unity, is too much torn apart into different sections. It would 
also be necessary to assign individual sections to different classes, 
although they might contain problems which are without 
interest for the children of that level, whereas other problems, 
which would be highly topical for them, would have to be 
relegated to another stage. Finally the scientific approach of 
theology is also too abstract in form to appeal to young 

An arrangement of the subject matter will therefore have to 
be chosen which, while not dispensing with the systematic 
approach, will permit divisions more closely related to life. 156 
It is again to our advantage that revelation in its original form 
was imparted to us not in abstract terms but most concretely 
as the history of salvation. God has revealed himself by His first 
dealings with man. Revelation is, above all, history; history 
which reached its culmination in Christ, and has been continued, 
down to the present day, in the Church with her sacramental 
life and ups and downs of her existence in the world. If religious 
instructions are to remain alive they must fall back upon the 
original form of revelation. Bible, liturgy, and Church History 
will be the point of departure for the presentation so that 

156 So-called "topical" religious instruction which deals only with 
current problems and news without any attempt at synthesis have been 
widely rejected; see, for example, the present course of study for religious 
instruction for the secondary schools in the province of the Archdiocese 
of Freiburg (n. d.), p. 6. R. Bandas, Vital Problems (St. Paul: Arch- 
diocesan Confraternity, 1954), achieves interest without forsaking 



from them the real teaching matter, the truths of faith and 
morals may be derived. 

Contacts with scripture, above all, should not be confined to 
one or two years at the secondary school level. Recourse to the 
Bible will always be necessary either to find an answer to the 
problems posed by life, or to enliven with its help the mysteries 
of faith and the moral commandments. In the first year of the 
secondary level it will be best to make use of the already men- 
tioned catechism in lesson form. In the intermediate and upper 
classes, however, many topics will be treated more advantage- 
ously after a cursory reading of Holy Scripture. 157 Even for 
many questions of apologetics scripture readings will be a good 
starting point. In this way the whole teaching will become 
more alive and yet there need be no loss of system. It is cer- 
tainly no longer the system of theology, but an arrangement 
according to individual topics. The reading of the Bible, how- 
ever, will become more attractive for die students through this 
treatment according to topics. Deeper connections will become 
apparent, and the individual narratives of Sacred Scripture will 
rather be safeguarded from being considered mere episodes 
without specific significance. 

The Bible, as well as the liturgy, will constantly have to be 
drawn upon. Since it is not necessary to give the children a 
thorough grounding in liturgical history, it will not be necessary 
to set aside a special year for dealing with the liturgy. It will be 
much better to link the teaching material of the year as far as 
possible with the liturgical seasons, occasionally to add special 
lessons about the principal ecclesiastical feasts, and, above all, to 

157 The doctrine on the Church, for example, can scarcely be treated 
more concretely and easily than in connection with the Acts of the 
Aposdes. What is essential in the Church, the community of the Holy 
Spirit is here emphasized. Similarly the mystery of the Blessed Trinity 
can be learned from the parting words of Jesus. 



take the relevant factors of divine worship in connection with the 
Church's teaching on faith and morals. 158 In this the unity 
of dogma, liturgy and life can be discerned more readily, and 
an active participation achieved in divine worship, which ought 
to be the exclusive aim of all liturgical instructions. 

The history of the Church will finally also serve to reveal in 
the right way the mystery of the Church. The historical method 
facilitates recognition of basic Christian principles and opens the 
mind to present-day features in the life of the Church. Let the 
students recognize that the members of the Church too 
are only human beings; but they should, at the same time, 
learn to appreciate that the entire history of the Church has 
been but a single struggle for freedom, for the integrity of faith 
and morals and for her own sanctity. Of course the dividing line 
between the civitas Dei and the civitas terrena cuts right through 
the Church; but this is evidence only of the bitter struggle and 
the way of the cross that is her earthly lot. Church History 
should, therefore, not be presented, like secular history, in the 
form of historical narratives, but with a genuinely theological 
nterpretation. 159 At the higher school level it should become 
history of ideas. 

158 H. v. Lassaulx, "Ein Beitrag zur Didaktik des liturgischen Unter- 
richtes" in R W, Vol. 7 (1952), pp. 101 ff. Balth. Fischer offers many worth- 
while suggestions as to how the liturgical material may be apportioned 
over the single years and can be correlated with the topic of the year. 
See also Dom D. Rutledge, Catechism Through the Liturgy (London: 
Douglas Organ, 1949). 

159 A solution envisaged in the French study plans that Church His- 
tory should be taught by the same teacher who teaches secular history 
might possibly be justified only if secular history is also taught by a 
priest; RW, Vol. 7 (1952), p. 20. See also J. Burschid, "Zur kirchenge- 
schichtlichen Situation im Religionsunterricht an Hoheren Schulen" 
loc. cit.y pp. 97 ff.; C. J. Ryan, "Teaching Church History in High 
School" in Journal of Religious Instruction, Vol. 17 (1946/47) ; "The Facts", 
pp. 718 ff.— "Why", p. 797-805;— "What to Teach", p. 877-888. 



How this material is to be assigned to the various school 
years can be settled only by a teaching plan. A good plan will 
first of all take into consideration the psychological make-up 
of the pupils in the various stages of their development. The 
old plans did not fulfill this condition satisfactorily. 

If, for example, morals are to be taught in their entirety in the 
second year, and not at all in the decisive years of adolescence, 
this can hardly be regarded as a happy arrangement. 160 The 
reason for these mistakes is ultimately that such teaching plans 
still cling too slavishly to the traditional division of the cate- 
chism in its old, theology textbook, form. But as we have 
already said, neither the catechism formula, Creed-Command- 
ments, nor the scientifically written theological treatises, repre- 
sent the only valid summary of revelation. The commandments 
contain only the natural moral law, and it is questionable 
whether the supernatural morality of Christianity should be 
mixed up indiscriminately with, or added to, it. It would seem 
to be more correct to distinguish clearly the typical Christian 
commands from the merely natural morality, and to deduce 
these from the new state of man effected by Christ. That is, 
man raised by grace to be child of God. But rather will this be 
attained by dividing the moral law into different sections and 
when dealing with these by starting perhaps with the Sermon 
on the Mount or a Pauline Epistle. 

Even less open to hard and fast systems is the teaching of 
Christian doctrine. After all it is no mere summary of abstract 
truths, but essentially history. The various dogmas can of 
course be linked with one another, but the best link is that of 
the Person of Jesus Christ in whom all the truths of revelation 
have been made accessible to us. We thus need to have the 

160 The present practice in Austrian secondary schools and in Germany: 
in secondary schools in Bavaria morals are taught for a second time in 
the fifth class (and not as in Austria in the seventh). 



courage to drop the traditional systems and to deal with the 
teaching on faith and morals as based upon the scriptures. Many 
new study plans have already taken this step. 161 All require 
cursory readings from the Bible, at least in the intermediate 
and upper grades. 162 Sacred Scripture, liturgy, and Church 
History are sometimes well distributed over the various years, 
and in such a way that the selected passages subserve the year's 
teaching matter on dogma and morals. Even the children's own 
problems are sufficiently taken into consideration in these new 
study plans. 163 Questions concerning self-education and sexual 

161 In this context we may regard the plan of studies adopted in the 
Rhineland-Pfalz schools since 1951 as a perfect model. As its basis were 
used the regulations drawn up at the Fulda Bishops' Conference in 1938. 
But later work, especially the recommendations of H. E.Wetzel, Lehens- 
gestaltung in Christus (Paderborn: Schoningh, 1947), the work of the 
Saar schools, the studies of the committee of the North- West German 
union of religious teachers appointed were made use of in RW, 
Vol. 6 (1951), pp. 73-80, 89. 

162 The Austrian teaching plan (September 25, 1948) requires Bible 
readings in all classes on the upper level, if possible to be linked to the 
other matter, cf. Verordnungsblatt fiir den Dienstbereich des Bundcsmini- 
steriumsfur Unterricht, Jahrgang 1949, Nr. 4. 

163 The Lehrplan for Rhineland-Pfalz considers as educationally appro- 
priate for the first two years the fellowship with the Father, who is God, 
and with the Christ, because it meets with the, as yet, childish mental 
attitude at this age. But in the third year, when growing adolescence 
requires matter that is as interesting as possible, the workings of the 
Holy Spirit in the Church and in the world are suggested as appropriate 
topics. The intermediate years treat of the preparation, in Old Testament 
times, that Christ made for His coming (fourth year), His personality 
(fifth year), His continued life in the Church (sixth year). In the final 
year a summary view of the faith is aimed at, because they are now ready 
to come to grips with religious problems as a whole. The French study 
plan, which was developed by the Commission Nationale du Catechisme and 
has been in force since 1949, is also adapted to the psychological growth 
of the students; RW, Vol. 7 (1952), p. 19. In the U.S.A. there is no uni- 
form plan for the whole of the nation, the choice is left to the individual 
diocese. Some of these have worked out their own plans, for example, 
Cleveland, Pittsburgh, 



morality are generally reserved for the fourth year; apologetics 
for the fifth to the eighth year of secondary schools. In the treat- 
ment of apologetics, too, there is a departure from the customary 
system adopted from theology, which begins with proofs for the 
existence of God, then enquires into the probability of revelation, 
in order to demonstrate finally, when the sources of Christian 
revelation had been proved as genuine, the truth of Christianity 
and the Catholic Church. The justification for this division 
appears to be its systematic and scientific approach. It demands 
too much from the mental powers of the students, however, so 
that it merely tires without convincing them. Also we shall have 
to bear in mind that no apologetic proof, however neatly pre- 
sented, can, of itself, generate faith. The various apologetic prob- 
lems which, anyhow, are relatively independent of one another, 
may, therefore, very well be treated separately. It is sufficient 
to provide the scholars in one of the upper forms with a survey 
of the whole subject which ought not be too difficult since the 
individual pieces of the mosaic are already known. In the 
German study plans special emphasis is given to the sixth year 
after the completion of which many pupils leave the secondary 
schools to take up jobs. This year is therefore designed as a kind 
of final graduation instruction. 164 

Regarding forms and methods, the particular psychological 
development of the scholar will have to be recognized. In the 
lower classes we can plan the religion period as in the upper 
classes of the elementary school according to the method of 
formal steps. In the intermediate and upper classes it is better 
to be free of them, for it is now no longer a question of learning 

164 G. Frank, "Der Religionsunterricht in der 6. Klasse" in RW, Vol. 8 
(1953), pp. 2ff. The same importance is not attached to the sixth form 
in Austrian schools. Some pupils might leave Austrian secondary schools 
after the fourth form (especially in the Realschule) but mainly in order 
to transfer to another school and not to take up jobs. 



single truths, but of the different realms of life. For this reason 
the teaching method which is based on a given text is preferable. 
The problem having been stated, a discussion follows in which 
all can join. Afterwards the catechist will give his talk which is 
not to be interrupted, seeking to settle the previously voiced 
questions and doubts. The practical conclusions will then 
emerge as a matter of course and should be entered in brief sent- 
ences into a notebook. If the pupils are not sufficiently alive to 
this developing form of instruction, which will require some 
mental effort, the visual developing method might be used. 
The difference is that the instructions will be enlivened and 
loosened up by means of visual presentations which facilitate 
the thinking process. This method will have particular impor- 
tance for the intermediate years, but for the final year, too; the 
principle holds that we can never dispense with the universal 
psychological law, according to which all thinking begins 
with what is visual and concrete. 



The Apostles' Creed ' ^ 

The origin of the Apostles' Creed, the "symbolum", has been the 
object of extensive researches during the last century, the results 
of which are understandably of great importance also for catc- 
chesis. A fairly recent account of these researches, by Joseph 
de Ghellinck, S.J., 1 fills a volume of 321 pages, twenty-seven of 
which are devoted to a bibliography of works consulted by the 
author. Origins, as well as structure, of the "symbolum" have 
given rise to an entirely new perspective. 

The Middle Ages offered a very simple explanation for the 
origin of the "symbolum". As the name, "Apostles' Creed" 
suggested, it was thought that they alone could have been its 
authors and that in particular each of the apostles phrased one 
article at their last gathering before their separation. There are not 
a few old churches with pictures of the twelve apostles and a text 
underneath ascribing to each a particular article. This naive hypo- 
thesis was first questioned at the end of the Middle Ages. The 
Italian humanist, Lorenzo Valla, heard a Fransiscan friar in 1443 
telling this ancient legend to a group of children in Naples, and 
feeling annoyed challenged him to a public disputation. This 
was forbidden to be held by the King of Naples, but the case 
caused a considerable sensation. 

There was no scholary investigation of the problem until about 
1842, when the relevant texts were systematically collected 

1 J. de Ghellinck, Les recherches snr les origines du Symbole des Apotres 
(2nd ed.; Paris, 1949); J. Quasten, Patrology, 2 vols. (Westminster: 
The Newman Press), Vol I (1950), pp. 23-27. J. N. D. Kelly, Early Chris- 
tian Creeds (London: Longmans, Green, 1950); idem, Rufinus. A Commen- 
tary on the Apostles' Creed (Westminster, Md. : Newman, 1955). 



and first published by August Hahn in his Bibliothek der Symbole. 
But research was probably started only after 1890, the occasion 
being the ever-dwindling faith within Protestant Christianity in 
Germany. The Protestant ecclesiastical authorities finally requir- 
ed the profession of the content of the Creed as a najnimum to 
be held by any of their pastors. Several members of the clergy, 
however, refused to accept this ruling. Some Protestant theolo- 
gians, Adolf Harnack among them, came to their support. The 
"controversy about the Apostolicutn" , as it was called, also served 
to intensify scientific research into the origins of the formula. 
At first it was carried on almost exclusively among Protestants. 2 
Catholic theologians were slow in taking it up and then mainly 
by means of critical assessments of the results. 3 What is impor- 
tant in these findings for catechetics we want to explain briefly. 
The beginnings of the Apostles' Creed can indeed be found in 
the time of the Apostles, but the complete formula did not 
exist before the third century. At first there were two separate 
formulas, trinitarian and Christological, which were joined only 
about the year 200 a.d. 

Trinitarian formula. Apart from the message of Jesus Christ 
the Redeemer, faith in one God had to be preached to the hea- 
then. The twofold topic of preaching was, God and Christ: the 

2 Among the works which are still valuable, the most important are: 
F. Kattenbusch, Das Apostolische Symbol, 2 vols. (Leipzig 1894/1900); 
H. Lietzmann, "Symbolstudien" in Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentliche 
Wissenschaft (1922/27). In English, F. J. Badcock, The History of the 
Creeds (New York: Macmillan, 1930), pp. 99-146. 

3 See S. Baumer, Das Apostolische Glaubensbekenntnis (Mainz: Kirch- 
heim, 1893); Cl. Blume, Das Apostolische Glaubensbekenntnis (Freiburg: 
Herder, 1893), and Ghellinck whom we have just mentioned. The texts 
have been gathered by A. Hahn, Bibliothek der Symbole (3rd ed.; Breslau, 
1897); a selection of such texts in H. Lietzmann, Symbole der alien Kirche 
(4th ed. ; Kleine Texte, 17/18) (Bonn, 1935). An orientation on the subject 
may be found in the Denzinger, Bannwart et al., Enchiridion (28th ed.; 
Freiburg: Herder, 1952), pp. 1-10, nos. 1-12, 



two basic concepts of the Christian faith, then and always. But 
to this relatively complete statement of Christian doctrine was 
added a third set of topics, an outline of those things for which 
the Christian faith is responsible : a new life and a new people of 
God, the Church and all that the Church contains in power and 
in institutions. 

According to the way in which these last topics are summa- 
rized we have three, and sometimes four or five, points of 
doctrine. In the so-called Epistola Apostolorum (about a.d. 150) 
Christian teaching is likened to the five loaves in the miraculous 
multiplication of loaves. As there were five loaves of bread, so in 
Christian doctrine there are five principal points : we believe in 
"the Father, the Lord of all (7ravToxpaTa>p), and in Jesus Christ, 
our Redeemer, in the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, in Holy Church 
and in the remission of sins". Sometimes only three points were 
enumerated: God, Christ, the Church (as we are accustomed to 
today), or God, Christ, Resurrection. But the summary most 
frequently used was God, Christ, Holy Spirit. It also expressed 
belief in the three divine persons which was only natural when 
this formula was used in conjunction with Baptism which is 
conferred in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

Profession of faith in the three divine persons was, moreover, 
in later times introduced into the "symbolum" in a variety of 
ways. Creeds have been preserved which place the profession of 
faith in the Blessed Trinity at the very beginning: "I believe in 
God the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, and I 
believe in Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born ... ." The 
Athanasian Creed, for example, is constructed in this way. First, 
very fully, come the Trinitarian articles of faith, then the Christo- 
logical profession. 4 But as early as the second century the pro- 

4 The Te Deum is constructed in much the same way : first a hymn of 
praise to the Trinity: Patrem immensae maiestatis, etc., then the reference 
to Christ : Tu rex gloriae, Christe, 



fession of faith in the Trinity was combined with other articles 
of faith in such a way that the doctrine of God was joined to the 
name of the Father, the doctrine of Christ, to the name of the 
Son as such, and the doctrine of the benefits of redemption to the 
name of the Holy Ghost. God, Christ, the grace of the Holy 
Spirit. These continue to be also the main headings for the 
tracts of theology: De Deo Uno et Trino — De Christo Redemptore 
— De gratia et sacramentis. 

Thus, quite early, probably about a.d. 100, there were 
baptismal creeds consisting of three parts of practically uniform 
length similar in formulation to our present day Creed, if we 
except the clause referring to Christ. There were, however, many 
different versions, none of which has precisely the same wording 
as that used today. Even the Trinitarian formula of the earliest 
Roman creed, the Roman "ursymbolum" is different. "I believe 
in God, the Father, the Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, his only- 
begotten Son, our Lord, and in the Holy Spirit, Holy Church, 
remission of sins, resurrection of the body." 

The different versions of the creed formulas in the West stem 
from this Roman original. Another similar creed, also Trinitarian, 
originated in the East; an example of this type, but in expanded 
form, is the Creed of the Mass. 

Profession of Faith in Christ. Besides this Trinitarian basic 
formula there was another formula or, more correctly, various 
formulas, in which belief in Christ (or as it has become custo- 
mary to say, the Chris t-keryg ma) was expressed. We can sense 
the beginnings of this formula in St. Paul (1 Cor. 15). The ancient 
acrostic, IX0TD (Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour), or the sign 
of the fish, were also professions of faith in Christ. A more 
developed formula of this kind existed very early in Rome. It was 
joined to the Trinitarian Creed about 200 a.d., thus becoming 
the older Roman symbolum apostolicum which scholars 
describe as "R". This "Christuskerygma" in the Roman version 



reads 5 " Who was born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, 
who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried, arose 
from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, sits at the 
right hand of the Father, whence he shall come to judge the 
living and the dead." 

Comparing it to the modern wording, which scholars 
describe as "T" (textus receptus), a stylistic variation can be noted 
first of all, the twofold division of the kerygma through the 
double use of the relative pronoun "who ..." (in Greek tov 
Y£WY]&£VTa . . . tov em II. II. oTocuptoOivToc). This corresponds 
to the two chief mysteries in the dogma of Christ, incarnation 
and redemptive suffering — in other words, to the two principal 
feasts of the ecclesiastical year, Christmas and Easter. Hence it 
is not by accident that these two mysteries are emphasized in any 
modern baptismal rite. Before Baptism the questions are asked: 
"Dost thou believe in Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, our 
Lord, who was born and who suffered?" "Born"; the wonder- 
ful birth through the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary illum- 
inates the mystery of the Person of Christ: He is more than 
a man. He is also the Son of God. "Suffered": the Passion 
is the work of redemption, for which He came into the world. It 
should be noted that suffering is immediately linked with passion 
and is described in words which are hymnal in character; 6 
similarly a greater emphasis is on the glorified than on the 
suffering Lord at Easter and the celebrations have always been 
continued for fifty days. This accounts for the fact that the creed 
contains no chronological reference to the birth as might have 

5 Denzinger, Bannwart et al., no. 2. 

6 Even in the more recent texts the interpolated phrase "He descended 
into hell" is an expression of triumph. In Byzantine art, pictorial re- 
presentations of the descent into hell generally, even today, take the 
place of resurrection pictures. See K. Kiinstle, Ikonographie dcr christlichen 
Kunst (Freiburg: Herder, 1928), Vol. I, pp. 494-500. 



been provided later (ever since the sixth century the years are 
counted from the "birth of Christ"), but to the Passion: "Suffer- 
ed under Pontius Pilate". Thus the coming of Christ is placed 
into the course of world history. It is not a myth, but a definite 
and tangible fact: "under Pontius Pilate". At that time (for 
example, under the Emperor Tiberius, or the consulate of 
Marcus and Duilius) it was customary to date events from the 
rulers and the years of their reigns. The fact that the name of a 
minor governor in Palestine was used in this connection 
indicates that this reference came into use when Chris- 
tianity was still confined to the narrow area of the Holy 

The Teaching of the Gifts of Redemption. The third part of 
the Creed, which begins with the Holy Spirit, treats of the gifts 
of redemption, and could, in the Apostles Creed, be entitled 
"The Teaching of Grace". Although it sounds somewhat 
different from the teaching to be found in our catechisms and 
the theological treatises De Gratia, it is, nevertheless, a teaching 
on grace. The process of thought, here encountered, might be 
explained as follows. The Holy Ghost is named first of all as the 
principle of the new life which Christ has brought. It dwells and 
manifests itself in the Church, which is hallowed by it. It effects 
everyone through the remission of sins, and finally in the 
resurrection of the body. 

First comes the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the 
blessed Trinity, but also the uncreated grace for mankind. The 
early Church, when treating of grace, always preferred to use 
the name of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and who 
inspires us to do good. The manner of expression is less precise 
than that to which we are accustomed in theology, but the 
essence of grace is surely described just as well. It becomes clear 
that we mean an inward and also a supernatural gift, for the 
name alone tells us that we are dealing with something to which 



we could never lay claim by natural means, that God imparts to 
us His own Spirit, His life. 

The Holy Spirit has His earthly dwelling place in the Church. 
His holiness is transmitted to her, as it were, like a spark. "I 
believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Church." So with the other 
marks of the Church, one, catholic, apostolic, which we 
pronounce in the Creed at Mass, were mentioned early on. But 
"holy" is the earliest concept connected with the Church. The 
Church is essentially holy. This is implied in the very notion 
of the Church (lxxAY]crLa), as the sum total of those who are 
called by God. Grace, election and holiness are therein con- 

The later form of the Creed, which we use today, which was 
used by the Gallican Church (T), and which supplanted the 
older Roman text (R), even in Rome itself after the tenth cen- 
tury, appends an explanatory phrase, "the communion of 
saints". The expression "holy Church" or "holy Catholic 
Church" had become a phrase to which not a great deal of 
meaning was attached. That is why the old idea of holiness was 
emphasized again in a definite and new colouring: the holy 
Church is the community of men sanctified in Baptism. The 
primary idea was not relationship with the saints in heaven, but 
with the Church as a communion of saints. In modern times, too, 
many catechisms, the Roman Catechism among them, accepted 
this interpretation. 7 

7 Another translation of this phrase is possible : sanctorum could be the 
genitive which is not dependent upon sancti but upon sancta : sancta = 
ta agia = tol ayta, holy things ; sanctorum communio = a society for holy 
things: faith, hope, the sacraments, powers and privileges which are 
possessed by the Church, especially the Holy Eucharist as a common 
possession of all those who belong to the Catholic Church. St. Augustine 
repeatedly used the expression in this sense. But ultimately it means 
practically the same. The Church is a holy society, holy because of what 
is bestowed upon her through grace. 



The life of grace was, therefore, considered first of all in its 
communal, social aspect. At the same time, however, grace was 
said to have been granted to the individual. The Creed expressly 
mentions all those sacraments by means of which Christians are 
included in the life of grace : Baptism and Penance, the sacra- 
ments instituted for the remission of sins. "The remission of 
sins" refers in the first place to Baptism. This is clearly indicated 
in the Nicene Creed: Conjiteor unum baptisma in remissionem 
peccatorum. The other sacraments are also included, especially 
the Eucharist. They are not, however, named individually. This 
was not necessary, for anyone who enters into the life of the 
Church through the doors of Baptism shares in the entire life of 
the Church. 

According to the meaning current in the early Church, the 
phrase "resurrection of the body" referred, above all, to resurrec- 
tion of the just. Grace is transfigured into glory, and glory also 
seizes man's body and transforms it. The words, "and life 
everlasting", added to the textus receptus are no more than a 
further explanation by which the eternal duration of the state 
of perfection is expressed. 

We can maintain that in the thinking of the early Church all 
these references to the gifts of the redemption arc only devel- 
opments of the first which named the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy 
Spirit who fills the Church; He is the soul of the Church. In 
Baptism He effects the remission of sins. He is the remission of 
sins. So prays the Church at Pentecost. The Holy Ghost is also 
active in the resurrection: He transforms the natural into a 
"spiritual" body (1 Cor. 15:44). 

But from another point of view we can also say that the cul- 
mination, the principal notion, of this third part of the Creed is 
the Church. Holy Church is all embracing, wherein is contained 
everything else. That is why there were various formulations of 
the Creed, such as: "I believe in the Holy Ghost (and the 



forgiveness of sins) and in the resurrection of the body in the 
Holy Church." That is to say, the whole process of redemption 
is being accomplished within the Church. 8 

The parallel lines between the various stages in the life of 
the Redeemer and those in the life of the redeemed should be 
noted in our Creed. At the annunciation we have the Holy Ghost 
and Mary, the Virgin from whom Christ was born. In the 
life of the redeemed we begin with the Holy Ghost and the 
Church, which is likewise mother and virgin. In Christ's life 
there is the descent to suffering, to the grave, followed by the 
glorious resurrection to eternal glory at the right hand of the 
Father. The redeemed, also are buried in Baptism, beset by the 
trials of true Christian living, will likewise experience resur- 
rection which will ultimately embrace the body and will termi- 
nate in the glory of the eternal life. 

These considerations should help to clarify the natural 
division of the Creed. The division into twelve articles does not 
correspond to its original structure ; it is a later, artificial division, 
which disguises rather than illuminates the coherence of the 
sentences. This division can be found already in Rufinus (d. 
410 A.D.) ; but it is clear how it came about. From the very 
begimiing the Creed was called apostolic because it summarized 
the belief which the apostles left behind. Because there were 
twelve apostles, a way was sought to divide the formula into 
twelve parts. In this way the medieval legend was born. But 
the Middle Ages knew other divisions besides this one. St. 
Thomas divided the Creed into fourteen articles, of which seven 
refer to the mystery of the Trinity and seven to the humanity 
of Christ. 

Finally, the formulation of the act of faith is unusual. Credo in 
Deum ... (I believe in . . .). No special meaning is attached to 

8 P. Nautin, Je crois a l f Esprit Saint dans la Sainte Eglise (Unam Sanctatn, 
17), Paris, 1947. 



this formulation in the most ancient texts of the Fathers. From 
St. Augustine's time, however, it is held to express a loving 
inclination as well as a rational assent. 9 

The Apostles' Creed was very highly esteemed in the early 
Church. That is why it was always designated as au^poAov : gu[l- 
(3oXov = what has been put together, a sign of recognition; for 
it was also the password which Christian travellers used when 
visiting other Christian communities. That is why it had to be 
kept secret from the heathens. It was never written down; it 
had to be written into their hearts. Candidates for Baptism had, 
therefore, to learn it by heart. And lest they might forget it they 
were admonished to recite it every day, together with the Lord's 
Prayer which was likewise considered sacred, in the morning 
immediately upon rising and in the evening immediately before 
going to bed. St. Augustine, for example, admonished the newly 
baptized: 10 "Say it daily. When you get up and when you go to 
bed recite the Creed. Say it before the Lord; memorize it, never 
grow tired of repeating it." This injunction was obeyed. Chris- 
tians began their daily morning prayers and ended their eve- 
ning prayers with the recitation of the Lord's Prayer and the 
Apostles' Creed. And this practice was continued throughout the 
Middle Ages. 

9 Christine Mohrmann, "Credere in Deum" in Melanges J. de 
Ghellinck (Museum Lessianum, sect. hist. 13) (Gembloux, 1951), pp. 

10 Augustinus, Serm. 58, 13 (PL 38, 399). 



77ze Kerygma in the History of the Pastoral 
Activity of the Church 

By the word kerygma, message, we mean the Christian teaching 
in so far as it is intended to be proclaimed, that is to be realized 
through pastoral care as the basis of Christian life. 1 Kerygma is 
thus to be distinguished from Christian doctrine insofar as Chris- 
tian doctrine is illuminated in all aspects by theology and present- 
ed as a logically coordinated system of knowledge. 2 While the 

1 Kerygma originally referred to the preaching of the Gospel to non- 
Christians; cf. the historical research undertaken by A. Retif, "Qu'est- 
ce que le kerygme?" in Nouvelle Revue theologique , Vol. 71 (1949), pp. 
910-922; idem, Foi an Christ et mission d'apres les Actes des Apotres (Paris, 
1953), pp. llff.; Kr. Stendahl, "Kerygma und Kerygmatisch" in 
Theolog. Literaturzeitung, Vol. 77 (1952), pp. 715-720. Retif makes a 
distinction between kerygma on the one hand and catechesis and didas- 
calics on the other. Whereas kerygma announced the kingdom of God 
which came in the Person of Christ and seeks primarily to bring all to 
the true faith, catechesis (or SiSoLyj)) offered an elementary, and chiefly 
also moral, introduction to the doctrines of Christianity themselves; 
didascalics (SiSacrxocAia), frequently mentioned in pastoral letters, is a 
more advanced form of instructions using both argumentation and 
Sacred Scripture. Retif admits, however, that the terminology in the 
New Testament is fluid. In any case the Greek Fathers used the word, 
XTjpuyfJia, in a broader sense, e. g., Basilius, De Spiritu Sancto, c. 27 (FG } 
Vol. 32, cols. 185 ff. with Annotation No. 64). We, too, would distinguish 
kerygma from catechesis, insofar as by the former we mean the essential 
content. Our understanding of the term Christian kerygma is also closer 
to the original in the sense that the message of salvation, which came in 
the Person of Christ, must today be preached anew in a de-Christianized 

2 See above, p. 96. 



growth and the continuous development of individual theologi- 
cal concepts, especially of the dogmas themselves, have long 
been the object of thorough researches and are made use of in 
the history of dogma, the history of kcrygma and its different 
elements has up until now attracted little attention. 

We shall attempt to give only a brief historical outline of the 
kerygmatic point of view, confining it to what is of importance 
for a knowledge of the present position of the problem, espe- 
cially for catechetics. But it is hoped that even such a brief 
outline might induce some readers to take up seriously one or 
other of the particular questions that are raised. 

The preaching of the apostles was in the first place a witness 
to the resurrection of the Lord, of an event which had publicly 
revealed that Jesus of Nazareth truly was the Messias and 
that He redeemed the world through His death on the cross. 
The gospels enlarge upon this theme retrospectively by showing 
the miraculous power and divine origin of Him who rose from 
the dead. They also tell of the time in between when die Holy 
Spirit is poured out upon those who believe in Christ and have 
been gathered as His Church through Baptism. 3 Christ as the 
one who brought redemption is thus clearly at the centre of the 

This remained the practice throughout Christian antiquity, 
as is demonstrated by the sermons of the early teachers and the 
pictorial language of early Christian art. 

There was a certain preference in the early centuries for the 
Old Testament to be used with the New in preaching the faith; 
it was also commented upon in long homilies, although these 
were less concerned with the literal meaning of Deuteronomy 
or of the psalms, as with some mysterious evidence of the central 

3 H. Schiirmanti, "Aufbau imd Struktur der neutestamentlichen 
Verkiindigung" in Paderborner Schriften zur P'ddagogik und Katechese, 2 
(Paderborn, 1949). 



mysteries in the New Testament. 4 In Adam was seen the type 
of the new Adam, Christ, and in Eve, who was created from 
Adam's side, the Virgin Mary or Holy Mother Church. The 
saving wood of the ark of Noe was the wood of the cross, and 
in the eight people who were saved were discerned a reference 
to the eighth day, the day of Christ's resurrection and of the 
new creation. Even the Book of Leviticus, which hardly con- 
tains material applicable to the New Testament, served Origen 
as a quarry for images seemingly foreshadowing the New 
Law. Aaron and his sons represent Christ and the apostles, the 
Jewish laws of purification and ritual arc seen to be fulfilled 
in a new manner in Christ and in the moral law which he 
propounded. The four spirits, in the vision of Ezechiel (Ezech. 
1 : 5 et seq.), are regarded by Irenaeus and by many later authors 
as symbols of Christ; the human face points to his incarnation, 
the figure of a bull to his sacrificial calling, the lion to the 
victory of his resurrection, the eagle to his ascension into heaven. 5 
We are familiar with the pictorial representation of Old Testa- 
ment scenes found in the catacombs. They were misunderstood 
only until it was realized that they represent allusions to the 
redemption accomplished in the New Testament. Isaac, Jonas 
and the three young men in the fiery furnace represent the death 
and the resurrection of Christ and of those who die and rise 
with Him in Baptism. 

The message of salvation preached by the early Church 
found its first systematic summary in the Apostles' Creed. In 
it as well as in its kindred formulas the message of Christ is 

4 Consult also: die works of J. Danielou, especially Sacramentum 
futuri (Paris, 1950); The Bible and the Liturgie (Notre Dame, 1958). 

5 Karl Kiinstle, Ikonographie der christlichen Kunst, Vol. I, (Freiburg: 
Herder, 1928), pp. 61 If.; O. Casel, "Alteste christliche Kunst und 
Christusmysterium" in Jahrbuch fur Liturgiewissenschafi, Vol. 12 (1934), 
pp. 1-86. 



unfolded more fully; at the same time the Trinitarian structure 
of the faith is emphasized. In the realm of prayer there were the 
divine praises or doxologies for which a basic outline gradually 
became evident in the third century. "Glory be to the Father 
through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit", or, placing the divinity 
of Christ in the foreground : " Glory be to the Father through the 
Son in the Holy Ghost." 6 

At this point were felt the first signs of the threat by heresy 
to the kerygma. Arianism, which menaced the Church from the 
fourth to the sixth century denied the equality of natures between 
Father and Son, and hence Christ's divinity. To justify their 
teaching the Arians used to point to the manner in which the 
Church prayed addressing the Father through the Son, the 
Son being thereby subordinated to the Father. The defenders 
of the faith replied that such references to the Son applied only 
to his humanity, to Christ Jesus the mediator. But this answer 
made no impact and failed to prevent confusion among the 
faithful. Thus it happened that in many parts of the Church, 
in the East as well as in Spain and Gaul, where the Arian Ger- 
manic tribes were particularly powerful, the words "through 
Christ" in prayers, and the idea of the God-Man as the special 
mediator in the language of theology, was allowed to recede 
into the background, even although there was no intention 
of denying or weakening this truth. 

There was all the more emphasis, however, on the divinity 
of Christ and the divine majesty and general dignity of the 
Lord. The most effective form of preaching the faith is the 
celebration of a feast. Besides the feast of Easter, followed by 
fifty days of celebration which for centuries and throughout 
Christendom was the only feast of the Church, there now 
appeared a second festal cycle, Christmas and Epiphany. 

6 J. A. Jungmann, Die Stellung Christi im liturgischen Gebet (Minister, 
1925), pp. 131 £ 



Both existed before the Arian heresy, but at that time experienced 
a rapid development. Hitherto the work of redemption accom- 
plished by the passion and death of Christ had been celebrated; 
in the Christmas cycle the incarnation of the Son of God became 
the object of special adoration. Besides His work, the Person of 
the Saviour was also specially honoured. The conception and 
birth of the Redeemer, and thus the Virgin Mother Mary, 
assumed particular importance. The great Marian feasts which 
in the meantime had arisen in the East were adopted by the 
West after the sixth century: Mary's birth, Annunciation, 
Purification and Assumption. 

It is due to the narrowness of man's mind that what un- 
doubtedly was enrichment and clarification in one respect 
proved a loss in another. The early Middle Ages saw the rise of 
the German tribes which soon assumed a leading role also in the 
Church. They were people without any higher culture, and 
the missionaries active among them had to content themselves 
with giving the most elementary religious instruction. On the 
other hand the age of the great Fathers of the Church had ended. 
Participation in the liturgical feasts became the chief means of 
imparting religious education. A certain vulgarism in the average 
preaching of faith, and in religious notions, was thus inevitable. 
Moreover, the new peoples having come into the Church from 
Arianism were animated all the more by hatred of the perjidia 
Ariana. 7 This was especially true of the West Gothic Church 
in Spain which soon, after the conversion of the people to the 
Catholic faith in 589, experienced a "golden age" — the only 
Doctor of the Church in the seventh century was Isidore of 
Seville, a Spaniard — and thus became a model for the rest of 
the Western Church. The culture of the eighth and ninth 

7 J. A. Jungmann, "Die Abwehr des germanischen Arianismus und 
der Umbruch der religiosen Kultur im friihen Mittelalter" in ZkTh, Vol. 
69 (1947), pp. 36-99, especially pp. 61 f. 



centuries was based upon these foundations. The fides Trinitatis 
became the leading concept of the Creed. Trinitarian formulas 
were used at the beginning of documents and of any pious work. 
Adoration of the most holy Trinity became the central theme 
of Christian worship. Prefaces for Sunday Mass, which until 
then had referred to the redemption, resurrection, sanctification 
of the faithful, admission through Christ to God's glory, were 
replaced by the Preface of the Trinity. The divinity of Christ 
was emphasized so much that in the preaching of the gospel 
the notions of God and Christ were often interchanged. A 
collection of model catecheses from the Carolingian period 
which have been ascribed to St. Boniface are phrased in various 
places in such a manner that it would almost appear as if God 
was born of the Virgin Mary, who endured insults and outrages, 
blows and a scourging, and died on the Cross for us. 8 Expres- 
sions such as "God's body" for the body of Christ, "the martyr- 
dom of God" for the sufferings of Christ, remained for a very 
long time current in medieval sermons. 

It is clear that these expressions are thoroughly orthodox, 
since they contain but the communicatio idiomatum. It is still the 
same dogmatic structure which confronts us, but it is another 
aspect, another side of that structure, which was then preferred 
in every day instructions and in practical devotions. Only 
rarely was the talk of a transfigured Christ still referred to, who 
lives and reigns with the Father, who is the head of the Church, 
and, logically, it was equally rare to hear that the Church is the 
Body of Christ, and that Christians are incorporated into it at 
Baptism, thus bearing the divine life within themselves. 9 
Prayers of that time, which have been preserved, refer much 
more frequently to man's personal misery and sinfulness, than 

8 Idem, pp. 78 f. Also Ps.-Bonifatius, Sermones (PL, Vol. 89, cols. 

9 J. A. Jungmann, "Die Abwehr . . .", p. 94. 



grace and redemption. Apologists from the ninth to the eleventh 
century provide ample evidence. Liturgical prayers, too, unless 
they originated in earlier times, were preferably addressed to 
Christ himself or to the blessed Trinity. Intercessions made by 
the Mother of God and the saints grew in esteem and importance. 
The Blessed Sacrament became the object of supreme adoration; 
indeed, at the turn of the twelfth century we can find traces of 
a veritable eucharistic movement spreading throughout Chris- 
tendom. But it was not the closeness of Christ which the faithful 
sought in a more intimate participation in the Mass and Com- 
munion, but rather remoteness from Him, an attitude of 
adoration towards the holy Persons, but made from afar. The 
deposit of faith was less a well-rounded whole than so many 
individual doctrines, incidents from the childhood and the 
passion of Christ, liturgical devotions with their climax in the 
sacraments, and among popular customs a growing emphasis on 
indulgences and the veneration of numerous saints. Moral 
instruction, including the popular enumerations, dominated 
the teaching of the faith. 10 Knowledge of the faith, an under- 
standing of its content, was reduced to a minimum in 
the average instructions, and indeed could be so reduced 
because and insofar as the practice of the faith made up 
for it. 

On the other hand the clarifications of scholastic theology at 
the height of the Middle Ages have contributed much towards 
greater emphasis being given again to the essentials of the faith 
in popular instructions. The devotio moderna and, to some extent, 
even German mysticism, had already applied themselves to the 
task of acquainting the laity with the results of that labour. At 
this point the revolution of Luther and of the reformers occurred 
which sought to simplify Christian teaching and practice by a 

10 Ut supra 3 p. 15. 


single violent stroke, an undertaking in which they sacrificed 
some essential doctrines of the Christian tradition. As far as the 
threatened doctrines were concerned, the Council of Trent 
clarified these with authority and provided in the Catechismus 
Romanus, which it ordered to be drawn up, as well as in late 
catechisms, a firm example of orthodoxy. It happened also, in 
this development, that the protection required against strong 
heretical movements tended to influence also the structure of 
the defended faith in so far as the doctrines attacked had to be 
specially accented. Catholic teaching thus came to be dominated 
by matters such as the hierarchical structure of the Church, the 
opus operatum in the sacraments, the Real Presence, the value 
of good works. In addition the knowledge increasingly gained 
from the then revived researches of theologians had to be inte- 
grated into the religious instructions. It thus came about that as 
particular doctrines were made known with greater precision 
the understanding of the whole hardly increased. The facts of 
the history of redemption were grasped by the intellect, but not 
related sufficiently to the sanctifying powers in the Church and 
in the Sacraments, nor seen as a whole. 

Integration in the faith and in the life of the Christian com- 
munity still provided a sufficient substitute for a more thought- 
ful understanding of the faith and of its inner cohesion. On the 
other hand, the new religious revival re-enforced the endeavours 
which aimed at a Christianity which was more consciously 
understood and realized. This was the object of the retreats 
recommended by St. Ignatius and their popularization through 
missions preached to the faithful. 11 This was the object also of 
the movement which originated in France in Saint Sulpice, and 
which made the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God 

11 Z. J. Maher, Under the Seal of the Fisherman (Los Altos, California: 
Jesuit House of Retreats, 1948); H. Rahner (F. J. Smith, trans.), The 
Spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola (Westminster: Newman, 1953). 



the focal point of its devotion. 12 And it was also the object of 
the growth in the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, by 
which in symbolic language, such as was then easily understood, 
the notion of a just God was supplemented by reference to the 
redemptive love of the God-Man. 13 

But there were attempts once more, in the age of enlighten- 
ment, at injecting, by violent means, unity into the concept of 
the world, this time by rationalist elimination of the mysteries 
of faith in favour of a purely natural world order, for which the 
work of the Redeemer and the sacraments of the Church had 
no more than moral significance. The practice of an age secure 
in the faith which had emphasized the objective validity of the 
sacraments was opposed by subjectivism which appeared to 
recognize the achievements of the natural man alone. 14 

Even though the age of enlightenment in its pretentious form 
was but a short interlude in the intellectual currents of the modern 
world, the temptation of an enlightened, rationalist, if not 
materialist outlook, is still increasing among the masses under 
the impact of the triumphs of modern science and technology. 
The pastoral work of the Church had increasingly to meet the 
intellectual curiosity of modern man in new forms of teaching 
the faith which promoted understanding and comprehension, 
and allowed the notes of the "good news" to ring again from 
among the multitude of doctrines. 

Some nineteenth century efforts to restore especially the 

12 Pierre Pourrat (W. S. Reilly, trans.), Father Olier (Baltimore: 
Voice Publ. Co., 1932). 

13 L. Verheylezoon, Devotion to the Sacred Heart (Westminster: 
Newman, 1955); J. Galot (John Chapin, trans.), The Heart of Christ 
(Westminster: Newman, 1955); J. Stierli, Heart of the Saviour (New York: 
Herder and Herder, 1958). 

14 F. X. Arnold, Grundsdtzliches und Geschichtliches zur Theologie der 
Seelsorge (Untersuchungen zur Theologie der Seelsorge, 2) (Freiburg: Herder, 
1949), pp. 58 ff. and pp. 88 ff. 



kingdom of God to its central place (prompted, among others, 
by the German Catholic writer J. B. Hirscher) were at first 
unsuccessful because it was difficult to draw clear lines of 
demarcation between the preaching of the faith and scholarly 
theology. 15 The manner of presenting the faith remained 
unchanged in that century. On the basis of the findings of 
theology, it was sought, above all, to propound clear single 
concepts, and to build with these as comprehensive a knowledge 
of the faith as possible. 

A new attitude sprang from the developments which gave 
birth to the liturgical movement. There was an increasing 
appreciation for history and tradition in the nineteenth century : 
Christian antiquity, the monuments of the catacombs, the 
writings of the Fathers and the liturgical sacramental life of the 
early Church were rediscovered. A first fruit was the gradual 
return to a fuller understanding of the Church. 16 Decisive 
steps were taken under St. Pius X, which resulted in a return to 
the fuller sacramental life of ancient ecclesiastical tradition. It 
came suddenly to be recognized that the life of the Church can 
be renewed only by gathering the faithful around the altar and 
by their direct participation in the Mass. Thus arose the liturgical 
movement. At first it was only a few who recognized in it the 
outline of a simple but deep Christian faith, a liberating return 
to the great truths of faith. A new source of inspiration besides 
the liturgy was Sacred Scripture, but it was soon recognized 
that this renewal of religious life in the Church must not be 
dissipated in partisan movements which in some special way 

15 F. X. Arnold, Dienst am Glauhen (Untersuchungen zur Theologie der 
Seelsorge, 1) (Freiburg: Herder, 1948), especially pp. 31 ff. 

16 O. Rousseau (Benedictines of Westminster Priory), The Progress of 
the Liturgy (Westminster: Newman, 1951), in which a decisive chapter in 
the prehistory of the liturgical movement is entitled: "German Ecclesio- 
logy in the Nineteenth Century", pp. 51-68. The chapter deals chiefly 
with the work of Mohler and the Tubingen School. 



might be added to already existing pastoral methods and aids, 
but that the whole of pastoral work ought to be based on some 
large and uniform programme. A kind of faith such as is illu- 
minated in the Roman liturgy as heir to Christian antiquity 
ought to be unfolded with equal and greater clarity, in the 
actual teaching of the faith. Sermon and catechesis, religious 
art and the organization of services ought to strive jointly to 
promote a consciousness of the faith upon which the liturgical 
and sacramental life may be based, and from which a joyful 
Christian faith can arise. This will be possible only when out 
of the many accretions of the centuries the one single message, 
the kerygma of the early Church, is once again allowed to 
emerge. To accomplish this, Christ must be restored to the 
centre of the faith. 17 The restoration of the kerygma to its full 
power and clarity is, therefore, a principal task of modern 
pastoral work. 

17 Th. Kampmann, "Die Gegenwartsgestalt der Kirche und die christ- 
liclie Erziehung" in Paderhorner Schriften zur Padagogik und Katechetik, 3 
(Paderborn, 1951), p. 19: "Within that period of Church History of 
which we are contemporaries, no other happening has as great significance 
as the liturgico-kerygmatical, the sacramental-biblical revival." Compare 
this with the synoptic review of H. Elfers, "Verkiindigung heute" in 
Die Kirche in der Welt, Vol. 4 (1951), pp. 9-16, 185-190, 329-338; Vol. 5 
(1952), pp. 15-18. 



Kerygmatic Theology 

Whenever the renewal of the content of the Christian message 
is mentioned nowadays, phrases such as "theology of the 
'message'" and "kerygmatic theology" are used. What is 
meant by them? 

As we have shown in various places in this book, 1 the efforts 
to bring about such a renewal do not imply a special kind of 
theology but a clear and effective presentation of Christ's 
message itself. The message has to be defined apart from theology 
and in its own right. No other claim was intended by the author 
of the book mentioned above, 2 and in the treatises on the subject 
which followed. 3 In subsequent contributions to this subject, 
however, the opinion was advanced that the "message" should 
be differentiated not only from theology proper and should 
remain much closer to the original presentation of the "good 
news" in the Bible and in the writings of the Fathers, but also 
that a special theology for the use of pastors was required, which 
is the theology of the message. 4 This last thesis, especially, has 

1 Ut supra, p. 36, p. 96, p. 137, etc. 

2 J. A. Jungmann, Die Frohbotschafi und unsere Glaubensverkundigung 
(Regensburg: Pustet, 1936). 

3 F. Lakner, "Das Zentralobjekt der Theologie" in ZkTh, Vol. 62 
(1938), pp. 1-36; idem, "Theorie einer Verkiindigungstheologie" in 
Theologie der Zeit, Vol. 3 (Vienna, 1939), pp. 1-63; J. B. Lotz, " Wissen- 
schaft und Verkiindigung" in ZkTh, Vol. 62 (1938), pp. 465-501 ; Hugo 
Rahner, Eine Theologie der Verkiindigung (2nd ed. ; Freiburg: Herder, 
1939); F. Dander, Christus alles und in alien. Gedanken zum Aufbau einer 
Seelsorgedogmatik (Innsbruck: Rauch, 1939). 

4 Consult especially the works of F. Lakner and J. B. Lotz in the 
foregoing footnote. 



been the subject of lively discussions in many journals and 
reviews, at first in German-speaking countries, 5 and later 
elsewhere. 6 The thesis has now been rejected almost univer- 
sally. 7 While admitting the urgency of the matter as seen by the 
kerygmaticists, most critics regarded as unnecessary a special 

5 A survey on the discussion is offered in the first part of the book 
of E. Kappler, Die Verhilndigungstheologie (Studia Friburgensia, 2) (Fri- 
bourg, 1949), pp. 7-110: "Darstellung des kerygmatischen Schrifttums", 
Kappler's own position in the rest of the book (113-262) cannot be 
considered to advance the discussion, since he often misunderstands 
basic thoughts (for example, the distinction between verum and honum as 
being the respective views of theology and of kerygmatics — as if when 
preaching the message, by emphasizing truth as truth of salvation and 
as a goal to be attained, we attribute to the will a role that should be 
played by the intellect) and finally because he fails to see the problem as 
such. For since a deepening of the life of faith is necessarily conditioned by 
a more intensive assent to eternal truth, it is self-evident "that a proclama- 
tion of the faith developed in the content of faith is not capable eo ipso 
of increasing proportionately its exercise" (pp. 245 f. and p. 194); cf. also 
the critical observations work by W. Croce, ZkTh, Vol. 72 (1950), 
pp. 121 f. and M. Nicolau, Revista espanola de Teologia, Vol. 12 (1952), 
pp. 44 f. 

6 Consult G. B. Guzzetti, "Saggio bibliografico sulla teologia della 
predicazione" in La Scuola cattolica, Vol. 78 (Milan, 1950), pp. 350-356. 
This bibliography is a part of a special number that was dedicated to 
the kerygmatic problem. Among those works mentioned, a special 
place must be accorded to the historical survey done by G. B. Guzzetti, 
"La controversia sulla teologia della predicazione" (pp. 260-282), as 
well as the penetrating study of G. Corti, "Alia radice della controversia 
kerigmatica" (pp. 283-301): the facts of salvation are recommended as 
the starting point also for theology; cf. also the fine piece of work by 
C. Colombo, Teologia e evangelizzazione (pp. 302-324), and others. He 
refers to kindred thoughts in the development of M. J. Scheeben and 
E. Mersch. 

7 Worthy of consideration is the judgement of B. Poschmann in 
Theol. Revue, Vol. 39 (1940), p. 122, who thinks it useful if the repetition 
of dogmatics, such as is often customary at the end of theological studies 
in seminaries could be given in the way proposed by kerygmatic 



theology of the "message" ; this task had to be solved, they held, 
by the theologians themselves. But it was also generally recog- 
nized that the traditional school theology could not cope with 
it and that it had become too far removed from the urgent 
pastoral problems. 

The "school theology" referred to was not, of course, the 
kind of research that deals with various theological problems in 
an historical or speculative manner without regard for any 
practical considerations. What was meant was the summarizing 
systematic presentation, the doctrine as it is usually propounded 
in lectures, in manuals of theology, especially in dogmatics. It 
has been said of it that it should be more closely linked to live 
issues (Schroteler), that it should be more conscious of its 
charismatic character, in virtue of which it is "speaking from 
the Spirit of God" (Stolz), that the faith alone should be "un- 
folded into fuller and deeper knowledge" in theology (Beumer), 
that the truths of revelation must be seen as truths of salvation, 
in short, that theology should be a theology of salvation. 8 The 
German theologian, Michael Schmaus, in his Katholische Dog- 
tnatik 9 has shown — even before the controversy began — how 
this problem should be met. Theology, says Schmaus, must 
free itself of its lack of life by entering into history, into the 
history of salvation: "the historical Christ, who died, rose 
again and was transfigured". 10 Schmaus, therefore, demands a 
Christocentric point of view also for scientific theology; 
Christ is part of his definition of theology, the proper 

8 More precise passages, ci. Kappler, op. cit., pp. 22-28. 

9 Katholische Dogmatik, 5 vols. (Munich: Hueber Verlag (3rd /4th 
ed., 1948-1953). 

10 M. Schmaus, "Brauchen wir eiiie Theologie der Verkundigung?" in 
Die Seelsorge, Vol. 16 (Hildesheim, 1938), pp. 1-12; idem, "Ein Wort 
zur Verkiindigungsriieologie" in Theologie u. Glaube, Vol. 33 (1941), 
pp. 312-322, especially pp. 318f. 



subject of which is not "God in Himself" 11 but God "insofar 
as he has revealed Himself in Christ and has preserved 
this revelation of Himself in the Church and throughout 
time". 12 

If theology is understood in this sense, then the aims implied 
in a "theology of the message" have actually been realized in 
their essentials, and it could be dispensed with altogether. Is 
there any reason why we should continue to speak of a " theology 
of the message"? We can justify its use, however, if by it we 
mean all those theoretical discussions and practical efforts which 
serve to make manifest and to unfold the kerygma and should 
lead to a renewal of the content of the message in sermon, 
catechesis and in the forms of worship. In that case it would be 
better to use the term kerygmatics, in which catechetics and of 
homiletics would be contained. 

Many studies on this subject have been published, for instance, 
researches on the rules governing religious language and of the 
changes which these have undergone in different ages and 

11 The majority of theologians declare that "the subject" of theology 
is Deus sub ratione Deitatis, cf. M. J. Congar, "Theologie" in Dictionnaire 
de Theologie Catholique, Vol. XV (1946), pp. 341-352, especially pp. 
456 f. This concept is connected with the continued use of the Platonic and 
Aristotelian concept of science, according to which science can deal 
only with the general and contingent, not with concrete facts. Compare 
Lakner, Theorie einer Verkilndigungstheologie , p. 15, and Schmaus, "Ein 
Wort . . .", he. cit.y p. 319f. See also C. Journet (R. F. Smith, trans.), 
The Wisdom of Faith (Westminster, Md.: Newman, 1951), pp. 76-77, 
and 86-88. 

12 M. Schmaus, op. cit., Vol. I (3/4) (1948), pp. 26f.; compare this 
with Vol. II (3/4) (1949), pp. IXf. (Preface to the first edition). Consult 
J. C. Murray, "Towards a Theology for the Layman" in Theological 
Studies, Vol. 5 (1944), pp. 43-75 and 340-376, who without directly 
attacking the current concept of the subject matter of theology, proposes 
Christus totus especially for those theological courses which those laymen 
who study at various colleges must take in order to prepare themselves 
for Catholic Action (p. 359 fF.). 



cultures. 13 Individual religious concepts, such as salvation, 
grace, mystery, the kingdom of God, heaven, etc., do not of 
course appear in the origins of our faith in the form of pure 
concepts; they contain symbolical elements which necessarily 
have been taken from the surrounding cultures. Although we 
reject a " de-mythologizing " 14 of the New Testament, which 
in Protestant theology has been demanded by Rudolf Bultmann, 
a realization is, nevertheless, required of the part played by 
imagination and time. The assessment of their significance is a 
task for exegesis, which should be followed up by a study of the 
symbols borrowed from Patristic times and the Middle Ages: 
this study can be of immediate value for a transmission of the 
message through the elucidation of our own religious termino- 
logy and through judgement on present studies. 15 

More important, however, than this analysis of individual 
terms and concepts with reference to cultural factors, should 
be the historical study of the principal themes of the Christian 
message with reference to the continuous task of presenting 
to mankind "the good news" effectively. This enquiry would 
be concerned with questions about the themes which in parti- 
cular instances had been given prominence in the transmission 
of the message and why this was done in so many different 
ways. 16 The history of Christian feasts can, to a certain extent, 
provide the clues. 17 It is evidently not mere chance that the 

13 A work of this kind is P. Bolkovac, Seelsorge und Sprache (Niirnberg, 

14 O. Cullmann, "Rudolf Bultmann's Concept of Myth and the 
New Testament" in Theology Digest, Vol. IV (1956), pp. 140-145. 

15 Ut supra, p. 244. 

16 On the importance of historical studies which are able "to show 
us faulty developments, to make us understand better the present situa- 
tion and so indicate the way to be taken in the future", cf. H. Elfers, 
"Verkiindigung heute" in Die Kirche in der Welt, Vol. 5 (1952), p. 17. 

17 As a very modest attempt in this direction, consult the work of 
the author, J. A. Jungmann, Liturgical Worship (New York: F. Pustet, 



resurrection was, in Christian antiquity, considered to be the 
sum-total of all the benefits of redemption, 18 since Easter was 
the sole feast celebrated in the Church, and that in that era many 
books were written on De resurrectione; furthermore, that the 
cross of Christ was seen and symbolically represented as a 
transfigured paschal cross and as the beginning of salvation 
rather than as an object-lesson in redemptive sufferings. It is 
also significant for the early Byzantine Church that Marian 
themes predominated in sermons, since she had instituted and 
developed the older feasts of our Lady in answer to the christo- 
logical controversies. One would also have to enquire into the 
basic changes in the propagation of the Christian message. 
What radical transformations, have, for example, occured in the 
Paschal sermon? 19 How much was the concept of the Church or 
of the Communion of Saints changed under the influence of 
intellectual currents in the catechisms? 20 We might enquire 
into the different views of the Eucharist that have been held 
through the centuries and how deeply these determined the 
forms of the Mass. To bring out the fulness which the Christian 
message attained at some stage, or to realize the decay from 
which we perhaps are still suffering today is to perform a 
service of greater value for the kerygmatic renewal. 

Much has already been done in this connection in Christian 
archeology and indeed in internal Church History. We need 
but recall the researches of Franz Josef Dolger on the images 

1941), pp. 30-46 ["Das Christusgeheimnis im Kirchenjahr" in Gewordene 
Liturgie (Innsbruck: Rauch, 1941), pp. 295-321]. 

18 See above, p. 381. 

19 Br. Dreher, "Die Osterpredigt" in Untersuchungen zur Theologie der 
Seelsorge, 3 (Freiburg: Herder, 1951). 

20 Consult above, p. 145 if. and p. 383, and also C. E. Elwell, 
The Influence of the Enlightenment on the Catholic Theory of Religious 
Education in France 1750-1850 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 
1944), especially pp. 203-228. 



which the early Christian Church developed for Christ (sol 
salutis, sol iustitiae, Ichthus) or for Baptism (sphragis). These 
researches have been continued in his school and importan 
contributions have been made to them by, among others, 
Hugo Rahner. 21 In France Jean Danielou has published detailed 
studies on the role of typology in Christian antiquity, and in 
particular, on the use of the Old Testament in the presentation 
of the redemption in the New Testament. 22 Some marginal 
subjects, such as Christian iconography or the history of devo- 
tion 23 and not least the history of literature, can add much to the 
history of the proclamation of the Christian message. Studies on 
the history of the content of catechesis and sermons are today 
in process of preparation. 24 

Finally, the notion of a theology of the message, in the wider 

21 H. Rahner, Griechische Mythen in christlicher Deutung (Zurich, 
1945). Of the many treatises in the Zeitschrift fur katholische Theologie, 
we cite particularly Mysterium lunae (ZkTh, 1939/40); Antenna Cruris 
(ZkTh, 1941/43; 1953). 

22 J. Danielou, Bible et Liturgie (Lex Orandi, 11) (Paris: Editions du 
Cerf, 1951); tr. as The Bible and the Liturgy (Notre Dame, Ind. : Univer- 
sity of Notre Dame Press, 1956). 

23 Especially important is P. Pourrat (W. H. Mitchell and S. P. 
Jacques, trans.), Christian Spirituality, 3 vols. (New York: P. J. Kenedy, 
1922/28) Vol. IV (1954) (in various editions). 

24 Here we must place those famous studies from which we have 
quoted frequently in the course of this book: Untersuchungen zur Theolo- 
gie der Seelsorge edited by F. X. Arnold. There is a history of catechesis 
according to various subjects, but from a Protestant standpoint (Baptism, 
Confession, Last Supper, Confirmation) contained in the first volume of 
G. v. Zezschwitz, System der christlich-kirchlichen Katechetik, 2 vols. 
(Leipzig, 1864-1872). A partial treatment of the history of catechetics is 
contained in G. H. Gerberding, The Lutheran Catechist (Philadelphia: 
Lutheran Publ. Society, 1910), pp. 45-88. For a thorough study of 
catechisms, consult J. Hofinger, Geschichte des Katechismus, pp. 129-212; 
using the Austrian catechism of 1777 he has thrown much light on the 
changes which the treatment of the content of the more important doc- 
trines have undergone. 



sense of the term, ought to include also the practical efforts 
which aim at presenting the message of salvation as a whole, or 
in parts, in all its richness and not merely as an object of pure 
scholarship. It is possible to connect theology proper with the 
concrete propagation of the message in catechesis and sermon. 
There have been some attempts, for instance, at presenting 
theology books for the laity or popular catechisms. It is the task 
of the official catechisms to achieve in a comprehensive form the 
true ideal of spreading the Christian message. 



Catechesis in England 

It will be immediately obvious to the English reader that our 
catechism is very different from the new national catechisms 
that are now in use on the continent. In these the arrangement 
of the material is based on the new emphases in theology and the 
new pedagogical outlook. For the former, the German Cate- 
chism is the best (published by Herder and Herder, New York, 
and available in Great Britain from Burns, Oates).The section 
on the Church, for instance, is headed: "The Church and 
our Sanctification", and the whole material concerning the 
Church is dealt with under this heading: the foundation, 
jurisdiction, constitution, the Church's teaching office, infal- 
libility and the Communion of Saints. This is immediately 
followed by the sections on Baptism and Grace. 

In all the continental catechisms we find the material arranged 
in lesson units that begin with a Scripture passage or a narrative, 
proceed to an exposition of the material, and conclude with a 
reference to the liturgy, with some practical work, and a sugges- 
tion how the doctrine may be carried over into practical life. 

Although in some (e. g. the French), there is an attempt to 
form, within the official catechism, a graded syllabus, so that 
the younger children are not required to learn the whole of it, 
yet since there is a tendency to postpone the learning of cate- 
chism answers until after ten (as Father Jungmann observes), 
this need is not now so acutely felt. 

In England, most of this matter of the division of material is 
provided for by the official diocesan syllabuses and the cate- 



chism is used in different ways according to the directives of 
those syllabuses. Thus those using the Westminster Syllabus are 
required to teach most of the catechism to children between the 
ages of eight and eleven. In the Birmingham diocese the teaching 
of the official text of the catechism is postponed until the age 
of eleven. 

Perhaps the chief difference between the continental outlook 
and the English is that whereas on the continent there has been 
a steady concern to improve books (whether for the teacher or 
the children) , the English have put their trust in a better training 
of teachers. Even so, and no doubt largely owing to their cir- 
cumstances, these countries have been much more active in 
training lay-catechists than has been the case in England. 

Catechism reform is now on the way in in England and one 
may be allowed to express the hope that the good work and 
great experience of continental catechists will be taken into 
account and, where possible made use of. 

Bibliography for England 

J. J. Branigan, The Teaching of Religion in Catholic Schools. Preface by 

Bishop A. Beck (Macmillan). 
K. Cronin, C. M., Teaching the Religion Lesson (Paternoster Publications). 

Diocesan Schemes: 
Archdiocese of Westminster Syllabus of Religions Instruction for Schools. 
A Development of the Syllabus of Religion as used in the Westminster Diocese. 

Concise graduated leaflet instruction course for teachers: 
Suggestions for Teachers using the Westminster Syllabus. 
Birmingham Scheme of Religious Instruction (Obtainable free from 27, 

Temple Street, Lower Gornal, Dudley, Worcs.). 
Birmingham. Syllabus for Primary Schools. Recently revised and more 

S.N.D., Religious Teaching of Young Children (Sands). 
F. H. Drinkwater, Doctrine for the Juniors. For those under eleven (B.O.W.) 
— , Short Instructions on the Mass (B.O.W.). 



— , The Abbreviated Catechism. For secondary-modern schools in the 

Archdiocese of Birmingham. 
— , The Abbreviated Catechism with Explanations. For those over fourteen 

— , Teaching the Catechism. A commentary on the whole catechism 

— , Twelve and After. For secondary-modern or grammar schools 

(Samuel Walker). 
— , Talks to Teenagers (B.O.W.). 
— , Catholic Schools Assembly Book. In two editions, for teachers and for 

pupils (Univ. of London Press). 
— , Educational Essays. Here will be found many practical hints on 

teaching (B.O.W. and Macmillan). 
L. Greenstock, Christopher's Talks to Little Ones (B.O.W.). 

For the Grammar School religious examinations : 
W. J. Moore, Christ, the Church and the Soul. A textbook for the syllabus 

of the School Religious Certificate (B.O.W.). 
F. J. Shutt, The Higher Religious Certificate. Two Parts (B.O.W.). 

Canon F. H. Drinkwater 

F. H. Drinkwater, Stories in School (Farnworth, Lanes.: Catholic Print- 
ing Company). Material for children under twelve, from 
Scripture and the lives of the saints, with an introduction 
on the art of storytelling. 

For use with the Catechism for children over eleven: 
F. H. Drinkwater, Catechism Stories (B. O.W.). 
— , More Catechism Stories (Hinckley, Leics.: Samuel Walker). 
— , Third Book oj Catechism Stories (Sands and Co.). 

Pictures: there are the well known Nelson series, the S.P.C.K. scries, 
the "cut-out" pictures of Our Lady's Catechists and their Parable Paint- 
ing Books (Oxted, Surrey : Phenth House) ; the painting pictures of the 
Bloomsbury Co. (London) ; a painting book on the Mass, My Mass . 
Book (Faversham, Kent : Carmelite Press) as well as many others. 

Of all the activities that have been the most used in England, drama, 
whether in or out of the classroom, has been perhaps the most 
popular. To this Canon Drinkwater has made a distinctive con- 
tribution. It is largely thanks to him that drama has developed as a 
means of Christian teaching, and he has understood its possibilities and 
limitations better than any one else. A general statement of his views will 
be found in: "Teaching Religion through Drama" in Sower No. 168, 
July, 1948. Points that he makes here and elsewhere are that: (1) it should 



be clearly realized that dramatization of a simple, naive kind suitable for 
infants would be out of place with older children ; (2) plays need careful 
preparation if they are to have their effect ; (3) there should be a distinction 
between classroom dramatization and what is suitable for a stage; (4) that 
not all teachers are gifted with a dramatic sense and these should feel 
under no obligation to use the method. 

A list of plays, mostly by Canon Drinkwater, with contributions by 
Miss M. E. Moloney, to the Sower. 
Gabriel's Ave (B.O.W.-out of print). 

The Vive Joyful Mysteries (Univ. of London Press, 1955). For older 

Prophets and Kings (Univ. of London Press, 1922). For under-elevens. 
Catechism Plays (B.O.W., 1955). For older children. 
Domine, Quo Vadisi (The Sower, 1952). 
A Love Knows How (the same). For boys. 

Our Living Sacrifice (the same). For older children, on the Mass. 
Looking Ahead (the same). For older children on Vocation. 



Adam, Aug., memories, 317 
Adrian, }., proof for God, 247 
Agde, Synod of, 292 
Agnes, Sr. L., prayer, 264 
Agnesine, M., catechetics, 175 
Albi, Synod of, 13 
Alcuin, 15 
Allers, R., Character education, 

358; psychology, 80, 285 
Allroggen, Chr., school-learning, 

Amadeus, Sr. M., christian living, 

Ambrose, St., 5, 7 
Ambrose, Sr. M., Mass pictures, 

America, and catechism, 119, 

127-8; Baltimore, 34-5, 134; 

and lay teacher, 69; and reli- 
gious orders, 67; Bible history, 

112-14; catechetical language, 

236-7; continuation school, 361 ; 

discussion, 197; grading, 156; 

Junior Newman Club, 359; 

learn by doing, 194; secondary 

level, 367; vocational school, 

American Freemason, 88 
Andrieux, L., First Communion, 

291, 292, 295 
Angela, Sr. M. St., retreat, 356 
Annunziata, Sr., First Communion 

Apostolic Traditions, Hippolytus, 

Archdeacon, J. P., and week-day, 

Arianism, kerygma, 391-2 
Aristotle, and education, 93-4; 

and septenary, 80 
Aries, Synod of, 11 

Arnold, F. X., and catechetical 
movement, 30; and catechism, 
137, 139; kerygma, 395, 396, 
404; liturgical year, 172; Mass, 
334; on faith, 245; 
Arnspieger, V. C, films, 229 
Astete, P., and catechism, 23 
Aubert, R., act of faith, 247 
Auger, E., and catechism, 139; 

and Canisius, 23 
Augustine, St., and catechism, 122; 
and Christian doctrine, 4, 5, 10; 
and deferred baptism, 3 ; Church, 
249; communion of saints, 383, 
386; God-centredness, 272; 
hilarity, 210 
Austria, and lay teachers, 69; and 
teaching religion, 31, 34, 66; 
arrangement of catechism, 148; 
Deharbe catechism, 118; notion 
of God, 239; pastoral hour, 
278-83; state school, 152; teach- 
ing plan, 159; textexplanatory, 
176-7; uniform catechism, 
121-2; catechism, 127, 132; con- 
centration, 173; prayer, 261-5; 
secondary level 373-5; 

Backes, J., apologetics, 363 
Badcock, F. J., Apostles' Creed, 378 
Bahlmann, P., 20 
Baier, J., formal steps, 189 
Baierl, J. J., and Stieglitz, 46; 

catechetics, 175; model lesson, 

Bandas, R. G., history, 1; and 

teacher, 74; catechetics, 175; 

religion plan, 154-5, 158; 

secondary level, 370 
Barbera, M., and Italy, 49 
Barbey, L., notion of God, 83 



Barclay, V., teaching, 81 

Bardy, G., history, 1 

Bareille, G., history, 1 

Barth, A., and Bible history, 32; 

confession, 310 
Barton, J. M. T., bible, 113 
Basil, St., Holy Spirit, 387 
Bauer, F. X., First Communion, 

Bauer, F., First Communion, 325; 

paper, 317 
Bauer, J., 14 
Baumer, S., Creed, 378 
Baumgartler, J., First Communion, 

290-5; history, 19 
Bavaria, Bible history, 110; 

teaching plan, 163 
Bedier, J., picture book, 289 
Beebe, C, biography, 289 
Beil, A., 98 
Bellarmine, R., and catechism, 

22-3, 120, 138; and Canisius, 

23 ; in England, 53 
Benedikt XV, Pope, catechism,120 
Bergmann, Paul, Bible History, 

106; catechism, 105; religion 

plan, 160 
Beron, R„ bible, 108, 172 
Beziers, Synod of, 13 
Bichlmair, G., 9 
Binder, J. W., vocational training, 

Bird, T. E., gospels, 114 
Birmingham, and Sower Scheme, 

63, 78 
Blach, Ernestine, personal expe- 
rience, 204 
Blacker, F., Hirscher, 149; history 

Blume, Cl., Apostles' Creed, 378 
Boffa, C. H., and Catholic schools, 

Bohner, H., films, 299 
Bolkovac, P., kerygma, 402 
Bolton, Mother M., children, 289; 

First Communion, 308 

Bopp, L., Bible History, 131, and 
catechism, 122, 124; graduation, 
355; liturgy, 98, 104; prayer, 
269; school beginning, 288 
Borgmann, H., Libica, 162 
Borromeo, St. Charles, and Cate- 
chism, 24; First Confession, 
Borromeo, Sr. M., an teachers, 69 
Bossuet, catechism of, 148 
Bouscaren, T. L., 41; Confir- 
mation, 343 
Bouyer, L., Confirmation, 341 
Boyer, A., 37, 39; formal steps, 192 
Boyer, C, kindergarten, 287 
Boylan, E., chastity, 353 
Brady, J. H., 44 
Brand, Fr. J., 23 
Branigan, J. J., catechetics, 407 
Braunsberger, O., 21 
Brendan, Sr. M., catechism, 120 
Brennan, Father, tales, 289 
Bridgett, T. E., contrition, 315 
Brixen, Synod of, 13 
Brodrick, J., history, 22; Xavier, 

Browe, P., First Communion, 291, 
292, 294, 316, 317; First Confes- 
sion, 306; history, 12 
Brownson, J. V., and League, 41 ; 

preparation, 308 
Briick, B., homework, 271 
Bruno v. Wiirzburg, 15 
Buchberger, M., Bible History, 

Buckley, J., sex enlightenment, 

Budick, P. A., stories, 234 
Buerschaper, K., discipline, 283 
Buhler, Ch., psychology, 82, 86 
Bullough, S., church, 144 
Burkart, A., illustrations, 226 
Burke, E. M., kerygma, 399 
Burke, J. J., 43 

Burkhardt, Al., First Communion, 



Biirkli, F., and method, 192; 

"hour of faith", 360 
Burnite, A., teen-agers, 80 
Burns, C. L., children, 80; mal- 
adjustment, 81 ; religion in home, 
Burschid, J., church history, 372 
Burton, W. H., and the Unit, 49 
Busaeus, P., and Canisius, 21 
Busch, W., catechism, 117, 120 
Butler, C, and catechism, 120 
Butt, Bishop, Confirmation, 345 
Byles, K. B., religion in home, 284 

Callan, Charles, P. and Cate- 
chism, 24 
Callan and McHugh, Rosary, 267 ; 

Confirmation, 341 
Callixta, Sr. M., activity, 198 
Canisius, Peter, and 3 catechisms, 
21-2; arrangement of, 22; and 
R. Bellarmine, 23; in England's 
catechism, 52-3; catechism, 132; 
practica catechismi, 1 78 ; lesson unit, 
132; on commandments, 149 
Carrington, P., catechism, 116 
Carter, Sr. M. Raymond, activity, 

Casel, O., kerygma, 389 
Cassidy, F., reorganization, 367 
Cecilia, Sr. M., music, 269 
Challoner, Bishop Richard, and 

the Catechism, 36, 53 
Charlier, Celestin, and approach 

to the Bible, 114 
Chery, H., liturgy, 102 
Chisholm, D., stories, 234 
Choisy, M., sex enlightenment, 353 
Chrysostom, St. John, 9 
Cicognani, Amleto, Cardinal, 35; 

notion of God, 83 
Clarkson, J. F., Confirmation, 340 
Cleary, D. M., and Newman 

Clubs, 45 
Clement VIII, Pope, and Cate- 
chism, 22 

Clendenin, J., and Discussion 

Clubs, 45 
Coakley, M. L., children, 289; 

First Communion, 320 
Cobb, C. S., natural wonders, 260 
Cochran, L. W., audio-visual aids, 

Collins, J. B., catechetics, 175; 

discipline, 283 
Colomb, J., and teacher training,70 
Colombo, C, kerygma, 399 
Communion, 298 
Conell, Francis, J., and Baltimore 

Catechism, 35 ; homework, 271 ; 

references, 248; sex instruction, 

Congar, M. J., kerygma, 400-1 
Conte a Coronanata, M., First 

Communion, 298 
Corrigan, G., music, 269 
Corti, G., kerygma, 399 
Coudreau, F., and teachers, 74 
Coyne, J. A., vocational training, 

358, 359, 361, 356 
Crawford, A. E. , Newman Clubs, 45 
Crean, P. J., Bible, 113 
Crichton, J. D., Religious educa- 
tion in England in penal times, 53 
Croce, W., kerygma, 399 
Cronin, K., repetition, 277; cate- 
chetics, 407 
Cullmann, O., Bultmann, 402 
Curran, C, counselling, 80 
Cyprian, St., catechumenate , 8-9; 

the fallen, 292 
Cyril of Jerusalem, and catecheses, 


Dahl, N. A., catechism, 116 
Dale, E., audio-visual aids, 169 
Daly, J. J., 44 
Dander, F., kerygma, 398 
Danielou, J., First Comm., 321; 
Kerygma, 389, 404; liturgy, 172 
Davis, M. D., and Weekday Clas- 
ses, 43 



Day, V., Correspondence Schools, 

de Bretagne, Guy, 1 
De Hovre, F., Catholicism, 94 
de Kieffer, R., audio-visual aids, 

de Sauveboeuf, R. A., Mass, 337 
de Zulueta, F. M., First Commu- 
nion, 291 
Deck, E. M., catechisms of, 127 
Decking, J., catecheses, 365 
Defarrari, R. J., and education, 47 
Defossa, M. L. and J., Baptism, 223 
Deharbe, and catechism, 31, 119, 
120; catechetical movement, 34; 
and Auger, 139; On prayer, 148; 
memoranda, 122; questions, 126. 
Delcuve, G., and Catechetical 
Movement, 37, 38; and cate- 
chism, 136; Confirmation, 342; 
modern youth, 359-360, 362 
Dennerle, G., Confirmation, 345 
Dennerle, G. M., and Magdela, 
Sr. M., 289 ; First Confession, 308 
Denzinger-B ami wart, et al., En- 
chiridion, 378, 381 
Derkenne, F., drama, 232 
Dewey, John, and method, 49; 

learn by doing, 194 
Dick, E., 10 

Dietenberg, and catechism, 21 
Dold, A., First Communion, 317 
Dolger, F., J., Holy Communion, 

292; symbolism, 403-4 
Dondeyne, A., 5 
Donlan, T., Kerygma, 400 
Donovan, J., and Trentine Cate- 
chism, 24 
Dorf/er, Felicitas, prayer, 267 
Dougherty, D. M., Confirmation, 

345; Guidance, 80 
Dreher, Br., kerygma, 403 
Dreyssen, J., prophecy, 172 
Drinan, R. F., 44 

Drinkwater, F. H., and Method, 
48, and catechetical reform, 

55-9 ; and school leavers, 91 ; and 
word usage, 236 
Drinkwater, F. H., and catechism, 
135; and Bible, 162; and drama, 
232; and method, 176; cate- 
chetics, 407-8 ; confirmation, 
342; home-made catechisms, 
271; prayer, 264; stories, 234 
Dubois, E., verse catechism, 133 
Duffy, Gavan, Silence, 265 
Duhr, B., 25 

Dunigan, R., activity, 196 
Dupanloup, Bishop, First Com- 
munion, 325; History, 27 
Dutilleuil, J., and Auger, 23 
Dyson, R. A., kingdom, 114, 141 

Eaton, Mother, Bible history, 113 
Eby, F., formal steps, 180 
Ecker, J., Bible history, 106, 108, 

Edwards, N., 44 

Edwards, Paul, sex instruction, 353 
Egan, D., retreat, 356 
Eggersdorfer, F. X., and Augustine, 
149; and Catechetical Move- 
ment, 32; concentration, 168-169 
discussion, 199; formal steps, 
181, 190, 192; learning, 359; 
religion plan, 157 
Ehrbach, J., sex instruction, 351 
Eisenhofer, L., First Communion, 

Elchinger, A., 37; and Bible his- 
tory, 217; and prayer, 263 
Elfers, H., kerygma, 396, 402 
Ellard, G., Mass participation, 338 
Elwell, C. E., series, 125; and vir- 
tues, 149; kerygma, 403; secon- 
dary level, 369 
Emmanuel, Mother, and liturgy 

in schools, 337 
Engert, J., First Confession, 303 
Epistola Apostolorum, 379 
Etl, O., Confirmation, 342; kinder- 
garten, 287 



Eusebius, history, 9 
Evangeline, Sr., M., music, 269 

Falk, F. history, 15; confessional 
books, 311 

Fargues, M., and catechism, 133 

Fattinger, J., stories, 234 

Felbiger, J., and Bible history, 
28-9, 104-5; catechism, 119; 
concentric circles, 156 

Fenton, J. C, apologetics, 255; 
kerygma, 399 

Ferrandus, 7 

Fidus, Bishop, 9 

Filthaut, T., the kingdom of God in 
catechism teaching, 30-31 ; 141 

Firneis, R., language, 240; heaven, 

Fischer, A., adolescence, 359 

Fischer, Balth., Mass, 334 

Fischer, E., catechism, 173; cen- 
trism, 143 

Fitzpatrick, E. A., and synthesis, 
162; course, 155; series, 125 

Fleege, Urban, adolescence, 80; 
movies, 229 

Fleury, Cl, Bible History, 104, 
112; catechism, 119,128 

Florence, Council of, confirma- 
tion, 340 

Frain, T., and teachers, 69 

France, and Catechetical Move- 
ment, 37-9 

Francesca, Sr. M., natural won- 
ders, 260 

Frank, G., secondary education, 

Franzl, J., meetings, 280 

Freese, H., Holy Communion, 308 

Freiburg, Bible history, 110; cat- 
echism, 121 ; leaving school, 355, 

French catechism, 131, 132; "les- 
son unit", 132 

Frohlich, K., homework, 271, 273 

Fuerst, A. N., and teaching, 69; 

Bible history, 111; catechetics, 
175; catechism, 104; concen- 
tration, 168; Confirmation, 343; 
First communion, 326; personal 
experience, 260; prayer, 265 

Fuerst, C. J., catechism, 128 

Fugel, G., pictures, 226 

Fulda Bishops' Conference, 123; 
active school, 199; secondary 
level, 374 

Fulda, Course o£ Study, 374; 
teaching plan, 163 

Fulgentius, 7 

Fur fey, P., boyhood, 80 

Gabriel, F., graduation, 355 

Gales, Father, Saints, 289 

Galtier, P., Confirmation, 343 

Galura, B., and Gruber, 31; and 
catechism, 118, 126; Bible his- 
tory, 105, 106 

Gamer, H. M., 12 

Gandulph, age of deceit, 293 

Gardiner, H. C, mysteries, 232 

Garrone, G. B., basic catechism, 

Gasparri, Cardinal, catechism, 120, 
141, 166 

Gatterer, M., basic catechism, 165; 
First Communion, 298, 324; 
history, 31; in U. S. A., 47; 
language, 240; nature of cate- 
chesis, ix, 208; sex enlighten- 
ment, 352; table of sins, 311 

Gatz, J., prayer, 266 

Gatzweiler, H., First Communion, 

Gaudig, H., 194 

Geffcken, J. F., 16 

Geiler von Kaisersberg, 16 

Geissler, E. G., religion in home, 

Gelasian, Sacramentary, 6 

George of Anhalt, 18 

Gerberding, G. H., historical cate- 
chetics, 404 



Gerliards, El., First Communion, 

Germanic tribes, and catechume- 
nate, 7 

Germany, Biblical catechesis, 160; 
pastoral hour, 278-9; State- 
school, 152 

Gerson, 15 

Gerty, N., behavior, 80 

Gesell, A. psychology, 80-1 

Ghellinck, J. de, Apostles' Creed, 

Gibbons, Cardinal, and Catechism, 

Gilby, Thomas, sex enlighten- 
ment, 353 

Gillet, M. S., sex education, 353 

Gillmann, F., First Communion, 

Gluckert, K., First Communion, 

Gobi, P., 12, 14, 15, 16 

Goldbrunner, J., and America, 40; 
Holy Communion, 329; Sacra- 
ments, 309, 310, 322; workbooks 
231, 273 

Goldin, L. P. Catholic liturgy, 227 

Gottler, J., and sacraments, 162-4 
active school, 195, 199; and 
biblical narration, 219; cateche- 
tics, xii ; catechism-catechesis, 
175; confirmation, 342; history, 
9; method, 175; teaching plan, 

Gotzel, G., and catechical move- 
ment, 52; and catechism, 122; 
Mass, 399; and steps, 191; Tat- 
schule, 196 

Graber, R., sacraments, 147 

Gramlich, M. A., self-examina- 
tion, 173; personal experience, 
259; details, 218 

Grant, R. M., Decalogue, 149 

Greenstock, D. L., catechetical 
language, 237; lessons, 81; talks, 
319, 408 

Greving, J., and confession, 149 
Grim, P. R., teacher, 197 
Grimm, L., bible history, 110 
Grollenberg, L. PL, atlas, 226 
Cropper, Johannes, and catechism, 

Grotsch, J., First Communion, 

295, 325 
Gruber, Aug., 30-1, 71; and 

feeling, 209; concept of God, 

239; divine revelation, 246; on 

the catechist, 246 
Guardini, R., liturgy, 98; signs, 

Guarnero, L., sex education, 353 
Gutmann, K., school-leaving, 356 
Guyot, G. H., references, 248 
Guzzetti, G. B., kerygma, 399 

Hahn, A., Apostles' Creed, 378 
Hagen, J., catechism, 120 
Haley, J., sex education, 353 
Hardon, J. A., on Dewey, 195 
Harnack, A., Creed, 378 
Hart, J., Bible History, 113 
Harwerth, W., maps, 227 
Hasseveldt, R., and Church, 145 
Hauber, L. S., 44 
Havemann, E., college level, 368 
Hay den, W., chalk talks, 231 
Healey, Mrs., and Confraternity, 

Hedderman, J. P., Mass, 331 
Heeg, A. J., Bible, 162; confession, 

308, 310; First Communion, 320 
Heenan, J. C, confession, 313 
Heilmann, A., audio- visual aids, 

Heiming, O., history, 5 
Heiser, H. A., First Communion, 

291-2, 295 
Helding, Bishop of Merseburg, 

and catechism, 21 
Helming, Hel., First Communion, 

Hemlein, J., history, 31 



Hennrich, K., sex education, 353 
Herbart, J. F., and steps, 180-5, 

Heuser, A., formal steps, 191; 
hymns, etc., 204; method, 217 
Hezard, C, history, 1 
Highet, G., children, 81 
v. Hildebrand, D., liturgy, 98 
Hildenbrand, A., and catechism, 

Hilger, H., First Communion, 320 
Hilker, O., discipline, 281 
Hindringer, R., history, 15 
Hippolytus, of Rome, 2, 10; Apo- 
stolic Traditions, 263 
Hirscher, John B., belief in God, 
256; catechetical movement, 
29-30, 72; catechism, 118, 166-7, 
126; catechumens, 246; First 
Communion, 295; God, 256 
Hober, K., history, 18 
Hoch, Th., and Bible History, 32 
Hochwalt, F. G., Catholic education 

in U. S. A., 40 
Hoever, J., Missal, 331 
Hofer, P., plan, 155 
Hofmger, J., and arrangement, 124, 
139, 141, 142, 148 ; and catechism 
104, 118, 119; history, 19, 26; 
Holy Communion, 334; keryg- 
ma, 404; religion plan, 156; 
teaching Christian doctrine, 141 ; 
and the training of catechists, 74; 
F. Xavier, 252 
Hofmann, E., First Communion, 

Hogarth, G. A., picture book, 289 
Horan, E., First Communion, 308 
Horan, Ellamay, Mass, 337; and 

teachers, 69, 70 
Horle, H., pastoral hour, 278 
Houle, C, and France, 38 
Howell, C. W., liturgy, 102 
Hubalek, E., films, 229 
Huber, Johanna, kindergarten, 287 
Hugo of St. Victor, and steps, 183 

Hunner, I. S., maps, 227 
Hunt, Marigold, Christ, 114 
Hutard, M., and notion of God, 83 

Ignatius, St., step method, 183 
Innsbruck-Feldkirch, 357 
Ireland, and schools, 51 
Irene, Sr. M., prayerbook, 204 
Italy, and the Catechetical Move- 
ment, 49-52 

Jachym, F., Bible history, 110 

Janet, Sr. M., secondary education, 

Jansen, R. J., and catechetical in- 
struction, 67; and teachers, 70 

Janssen, J., 16, 19 

Jantsch, F., and worker, 88 

Jehle, Edmund, model catechesis, 

Jerome, 9 

Jesuits, and assembly, 215; and 
catechism, 21-3; and instruc- 
tion, 25 

Jews, and catechesis, 1-2 

JohnB. de la Salle, 173 

John the Deacon, 7 

Johnson, F. E., public school reli- 
gion, 290 

Johnson, George, and activity 
principle, 197; and teaching, 70 

Jonas of Orleans, 12 

Jones, A., kingdom, 114, 141 

Jones, A. H., and Unit Construc- 
tion, 49 

Joret, F. D., penance, 313 

Jorio, D., decree, 291 

Josephine, Sr. M., rosary, 267 

Journet, C, theology, a science, 401 

Juergens, S. J., Missal, 331 ; purity, 
348, 351 

Juliana, Sr. M., picture books, 289 

Jungmann, J. A., and Christ, 142; 
disfiguration of God, 225 ; edu- 
cation, 94; films, 229; First 
Communion, 291, 292; First 



Confession, 303; history, 1, 14; 
and H. Kautz, 211; kerygma 
history, 390-2; language, 240; 
liturgy, 98, 102; obediental po- 
tency, 254; purpose of book, vii- 
viii; religious education in late 
M. A., 17; theology, 398, 402 
Justin, 2 

KahrhorT, R. E. progressivism, 198 
Kammerlander, L. Confirmation, 

345 ; trade schools, 365 
Kammler, B., and assembly, 215 
Kampmann, Th. and kerygma, 

137, 397; liturgy, 172 
Kandel, I. L., comparative educa- 
tion, 152, 361 
Kappler, E., kerygma, 399, 400 
Kattenbusch, F., Apostles' Creed, 

Kautz, H., and steps, 210, 211 
Kavanaugh, Sr. M. C, films, 229 
Keesecker, W. W., and released 

time, 43 
Keller, V. repetition, 277 
Kelly, G., chastity, 348 
Kelly, J. N. D., and creeds, 377 
Kelly, M. V., and the catechism, 35 
Kelly, W. R., and catechism, 125; 

first communion, 308, 321 
Kelly, William and Margaret, 81 
Kempf, J., youth, 81 
Kerschensteiner, G., learn by doing, 

Kifmger, method, 176 
Kilborn, V. F., and preaching, 45 
Kilger, L., First Confession, 304 
King, J. L. sex enlightenment, 

348, 350, 353 
Kinkead, catechism, 127 
Kirchgassner, A., Communion, 

326; Confession 310 
Kirsch, Fr., and catechism, 120, 127 
Klagenfurt, Bible history, 108 
Klement, J., pictures, 226; per- 
sonal experience, 204, 205 

Klenke, P. F., First Communion, 

Knapp, Sr. M. A. Justina, sym- 
bols, 230 
Knecht, Fr. J., catechetics, 178; 
History, 26, 29; Religion plan, 
Knechtle, Od., work book, 231 
Koch, B., assemblies, 217 
Kopp, Cl., First Communion, 292 
Kopp, F., Tatschulc, 196 
Korherr, E. J., and hymns, 204 
Korioth, A. J., and Good Will, 45 
Koster, D., Confirmation, 340 
Kosters, L., and assent, 248, 249 
Kotter, EL, children, 289 
Krahl, B. E., First Communion, 

Krebs, L., History 37 
Krieg, C, History 18 
Krones, J., audio-visual aids, 224 
Klinstle, K., Apostles' Creed, 380; 

kerygma, 389; History 16 
Kunz, Leo, child conscience, 309 
Kurz, E., and Decalogue, 149 

Lahey, T. A., natural wonders, 260 

Lakner, F., kerygma, 398, 401 

Landgraf, A., Baptism and Com- 
munion, 292 

Landrieux, Bishop, and catecheti- 
cal method, 39-40 

Landskron, St., history, 16 

Lassaulx, H. v., secondary level, 

Lateran Council IV (1215), First 
Communion, 292, 293, 297 

Leahy, C, instruction, xii; teen- 
agers, 81 

Leeming, B., Confirmation, 340, 

Leen, E., education, 94 

Lefebvre, G., liturgical pictures, 

Lehmkuhl, A., First Communion, 



Lentner, L., pastoral hour, 279 
Leonard, A., films, 228; second- 
ary education, 369 
Lerchenfeld, B., experience, 88 
Lercher, L., resurrection, 145 
Lietzmann, H., Apostles' Creed, 

Linden, J., and catechism, 119, 120 
Lindworsky, J., and the will, 211 
Llorente, D., Munich Method, 192 
Lord, D. A., missal, 331; myths, 
284; picture books, 289; reli- 
gion in the home, 284; youths, 
Lotz, J. B., kerygma, 398 
Lovasik, L., missal, 331 
Loyola, Mother M., Confession, 

Lubienska de Lenval, H., Mass, 

330; prayer, 265 
Lugo, J., age for Communion, 295 
Luther, and catechesis, 19-20, 125; 

kerygmatic theology, 393 
Lynch, D., Holy Communion, 308 
Lyons, J., and League, 41 

McCarthy, R., adolescence, 81 
McCormick, L. J., films, 229 
McCormick, P. J., and Montes- 

sori, 48 
McCorry, Vincent, teen-agers, 81 
MacEachen, Roderick, and method 

48; and Decalogue, 150 
McGill, M. E., sex instruction, 353 
McGlynn, J. V., liturgy, 98 
McGrade, F., confession, 308; 

rosary, 289 
McGucken, W. J., secondary edu- 
cation, 366 
McHugh, John, A., and Catechism 

McKenna, P. P., basis of faith, 249 
McMahon, J. T., and method, 49; 

activity, 199; Munich Method, 

188; the will, 211 
McManus, W., plan, 155 

McNeil, J. T., history, 12 
McNicholas, J. T., First Commu- 
nion, 291 
Madonnet, 15 
Maher, Z. J., retreats, 394 
Mahr, F., Mass, 337 
Maltez, Bishop, and catechism, 21 
Manousos, D., Missal, 331 
Maredsous, Monks of, bible, 114 
Marguerite, Sr. M., children, 289; 

First Communion, 320 
Maria, L. di, and Brothers, 173 
Marique, P. J., formal steps, 181 
Maristella, Sr. M., course of 

study, 155 
Marneffe, A. de, pictures, 226, 228 
Marron, J. S., and the catechism,36 
Martene,E., First Communion, 371 
Martindale, C. C, sex instruction, 

351, 353 
Mary Irwin and E. Brogan, Missal, 

Mary, Sr., Concepts, 82; First Con- 
fession, 320; mother's helper, 
Matthew, St., and communicacion 

of Gospels, 6 
Mayer, F. G., retreats, 357; sex 

instruction, 353 
Mayer, H., catechetics, 175; con- 
trition, 314; memory work, 277; 
prayer, 269; secondary training, 
358; sex instruction, 350; St. 
Thomas and education, 94; 
visualization, 232 
Mellinger, B. E., children's pic- 
tures, 225 
Melvin, A. G., methods, 197 
Mendelis, Msgr., and Santa, 86 
Mersch, E., kerygma, 399 
Messner, Archbishop, and method, 

Meunier, W. H., and method, 

176, 188 
Mexico, catechism, 121; lay cate- 
chists, 69 



Mey, Gustave, bible history, 31 ; 
ideal, 71 ; model catecheses, 235 ; 
stories, 236; the Eucharist, 242 
Meyer, A. E., on method, 192 
Meyer, W., and Neyer, P., cer- 
titude, 248 
Michael, M., adolescence, 81 
Michael, St., voice of, 243 
Michaelis, J. N., teacher, 197 
Michel, V., liturgy, 98 
Middleton, }. S. and Confrater- 
nity, 42 
Millot, J., stories, 235 
Minichthaler, J., stories, 234 
Mink-Born, M., pictures, 226 
Missliwetz, J., and Bible history, 

Mittelstedt, F., books, 289; Mass, 

Mohrmann, Chr., Creed, 386 
Mommaerts, E. G., convert work, 

Monnichs, Th., chastity, 348 
Monroe, P., formal steps, 181 
Montessori, M., and method, 48; 

Mass, 330; prayer, 265 
Monty, V., secondary level, 369 
Moore, T. V., psychology, 81 
Moore, W. J., textbook, 408 
Moretta, P., and Italy, 49-50 
Morris, J., confirmation, 345 
Morrison, J. G., children's pictures, 

Morrow, L., Bishop; First Com- 
munion, 308 ; picture book, 289 
Mosshamer, O., sex instruction, 

Moufang, Chr., 16, 20 
Mueller, T., liturgy, 102 
Mulloy, W. T. 43 
Mtincker, Th., First Confession, 

303, 309 
Munich, Catechetical Movement, 

32, 183 
Munich Catechetical Society, 181 
Munich Congress, see Congress, 34 

Minister, i. W., school leaving, 357 
Murchison, C, psychology, 81 
Murray, J. C, lay theology, 401 

Nautin, P., Holy Spirit, 385 
N.C.M.E. A. of America, 270 
Newland, M. R., liturgy, 102 
Neyer, P., and W. Meyer, certi- 
tude, 248 
Nicolau, M., kerygma, 389 
Nisters, B., table of sins, 311, 319 
Noble, S. G., learning by doing, 

Noirleau, M. de, 105 
Noldin-Schmitt-Heinzel, First con- 
fession, 302 
Nolle, L., steps, 181 

O'Brien, J. A., sex education, 353 
O'Connor, A., Christ, 142 
O'Connor, J. F., chalk talks, 231 
O'Connor, W. R., natural desire, 

O'Hara, E. V., and Confraternity, 

41, 43; and U. S. A., 69, 70 
O'Hea, J., sex enlightenment, 253 
Oliva, Sr. M., prayer, 264 
O'Neill, J. M., and religious edu- 
cation, 43, 44 
Oppenheim, Ph., history, 8, 18 
Origen, history, 3 
Osnabriick, leaving schools, 355 
Otteny, B., films, 229 
Overberg, B. H., Bible History, 
105; catechism, 118; history, 29 
Overend, J., Confirmation, 345 

Pace, Father, and Method, 47 
Paderborn, course, of study, 158 
Papini, G., and Christ-centredness, 

Paris Synod (829), 12 
Parsons, W., 43 

Pascher, J., First Communion, 320 
Patrice, Sr. J., First Communion, 




Paul, St., arrangement of cate- 
chism, 142; concentration, 171 
Peitzmeier, J., revival, 365 
Pemsel, J. M., drawings, 231 
Peregrinatio Aether iae, 5, 9 
Pereira, Cl., sex enlightenment, 350 
Perkins, Mary, language, 237 
Pesch, Chr., optimism in creation, 

241 ; praeambula fidei, 247 
Peter de Soto, and catechism, 21 
Peters, F. J., and catechism, 127; 

Decalogue, 149 
Petersham, Maud and Miska, 

language, 237 
Pfliegler, Michael, 75, 77, 83, 87; 
active school, 198; activity, 198, 
200; catechetics, 179; Christian 
doctrine, 206; home training, 
285; liturgy, 172; steps, 181, 
182; vocational training, 359; 
will training, 211, 212 
Philip, Br., reflection, 173 
Philothea, Sr. M., First Commu- 
nion, 318 
Pichler, W., act of contrition, 312; 
catechism, 127, 128, and divi- 
sion of, 140; First Communion, 
295; First Confession, 307; 
method, 177 ; religion book, 110, 
124; steps, 188; teaching plan, 
Pickering, A., sex education, 353 
Pieper, J., and Christ, 150 
Pierse, G., virtues, 244 
Pire, L. E., sex instruction, 353 
Pius V, Pope, and Roman cate- 
chism, 23-24 
Pius X, Pope, catechetical reform, 
55, 56; First Communion, 39; 
universal catechism, 120 
Pius XI, Pope, and officium cate- 
chisticum, 52; Roman Cate- 
chism, 24 
Pleasants, M. A., Newman Club 

Plus, R., Christian living, 362 

Poelman, R., bible history, 144 

Pope, H., faith, 141 

Poschmann, B., kerygma, 399 

Pouget, A., catechism, 128 

Pourrat, P., Olier, 395; spiri- 
tuality, 404 

Power, E. J., progressive education 

Power, R. E., Confirmation, 345 

Probst, F., history, 15 

Ps.-Bonifation, kerygma, 392 

Pustet, F., Mass chart, 227 

Quastens, J., Apostles' Creed, 377; 

history, 1 
Quigley, T. J., education, 198 
Quinet, and Bover, catechism, 40; 

liturgy, 102; "lesson unit", 129 

Raab, K., and booklet, 110; and 
catechism, 125, 134, 167; and 
newspapers, 135, 167; basic 
catechism, 167; First Confession, 
307; language, 235; religion 
plan, 160 
Rahner, H., kerygma, 398, 404; 

retreats, 394 
Ramsauer, M., and catechism, 139; 

and church, 145 
Ranft, F., history, 30 
Ranwez, P., and catechism, 136, 
137; films, 228 ; prayerbooks,331 
Raudisch, E., films, 228 
Raup, R. B., and the Unit, 49 
Reavis, W. C, and school, 153 
Reder, J., drawing, 231 
Reichert, E., and Decalogue, 150 
Rein, W., formal steps, 180 
Retif, L., environment, 88; and 

kerygma, 387 
Richaud, J. C, Newman Clubs, 45 
Rickaby, J., Confirmation, 342 
Riedel, A., illustrations, 231 
Ripalda, P., and catechism, 23 
Rivlin, H. N., compulsory, school 



Roche, W., God, 83 
Rochester, and Baltimore Cate- 
chism, 35 
Rock, R. C, National Center, 46 
Roermond, school leaving, 360 
Roguet, A. M., liturgy, 102 
Rolfus, H., stories, 234 
Rosalia, Sr., M.,and Adaptive Way 

42-43; and catechism, 129; 

prayer, 265, 267 
Rosseler, H., secondary schools, 

366, 369 
Rottenburg, catechism, 121, 127 
Rousseau, O., liturgical history, 

Royce, J., personality, 81 
Riicker, A., history, 7 
Rudolf, R., history, 16 
Rufmus, Creed, 377, 385 
Rumpler, (1802), catechism, 126 
Russell, W. H., and teacher, 71; 

Christo-centrism, 142; virtues, 

Rutledge, Denis, liturgy, 102; 

secondary level, 372 
Ryan, E. A., the church, 139 
Ryan, J. C, and teachers, 69; 

church history, 372 
Ryder, R. J., and teacher, 74 

Saganer Catechi sinus, 128 
Sailer, J. M., catechism, 148; con- 
centration, 172 
Santa Claus, and the child, 86 
Sattler, H., sex education, 353 
Scannell, T. B., and catechism 34 
Scarre, A. JVL, and "home-made 

catechism" 59 
Schade, J. I., morality, 244 
Scharlieb, M., psychology, 81 
Scharrelmann, H., and moderni- 
zation, 218 
Scheeben, M. J., kerygma, 399; 

structure, 147 
Schiel, H. R, 30 
Schierse, F. J., and kingdom, 141 

Schilgen, H., sex education, 352 
Schlumpf, M., children, 289 
Schmaus, M., kerygma, 400-01 
Schmid, A., pictures, 231 
Schmid, Chr. v., Bible History, 

Schmid, Marg., and schools, 70 
Schmidlin, J., history, 1, 8 
Schmidt, G. P., 44 
Schmidt, St., language 241 
Schmiedeler, E. J., history, 43; 

sex enlightenment, 353 
Schmitt, J., Catechism, 118 
Schnackenburg, R., kingdom, 144 
Schneider, (1790), catechism, 126 
Schneider, A., adolescence, 81 
Schneider, Fr., family training, 

289; parents and sex, 349 
Schnepp, G.J., panel discussion, 205 
Schnippenkottcr, J., basic training, 

Schoberl, Fr., and catechism, 176 
Schreibmayr, F., and Bible, 161; 

and catechism, 146; belief in 

God, 256 
Schrems, K., history, 25 
Schroder, H. J., history, 24 
Schueler, H., continuation school, 

Schumacher, Ph., pictures, 226 
Schumann, V. M., homework, 271 
Schummer, K., basic training, 366 
Schurhammer, G., Xavier, 252 
Schurmann, H., Christ, 145; 

kerygma, 388 
Schuster, Ig., Bible History, 105; 

catechism, 121 
Schuster -Mey, Bible History, 105 
Schwarzmann, Alfr., First Com- 
munion, 322 
Seage, A., History 1 
Seeberg, A., and catechism, 115-16 
Seeger, A. und E., 113 
Selhorst, H. G., 
Shamon, A., sex enlightenment, 




Shapcote, L., St. Thomas, 15-16 
Sharp, J. K., religion plan, 157 
Shea, R. S., and Discussion Clubs, 

Sheed, F. J., discipline, 283 
Sheehan, M., language, 237 
Sherrill, L., children, 81 
Shields, Father, and method, 47 
Shutt, F. J., Textbook, 408 
Slavs, and catechumenate, 7 
Sloyan, G., religious education to 

M.A., 7; see also 17,74,236,342 
Smalley, B., bible, 107 
Smet, W., purity, 350 
Smith, W. J., confession, 310 
S. N. D., Juniors, 407 
Soiron, Th., faith, 254 
Solzbacher, J., and catechism, 

136-7; formal steps, 191-2; 

hymns etc., 204; method, 217; 

First Communion paper, 317; 

trade school, 362, 365 
Southard, R. J., natural wonders, 

Spaemann, H., contrition, 312 
Spirago, F., and J. J. Baxter, stories, 

Spirago s Method of Christian Doc- 
trine, Messner, 47 
Spranger, Eduard, and eros, 71 
Stapleton, S., secondary education, 

Stapper, R., history, 29 
Stattler, (1794) catechism, 126 
Stein, W., and reflection, 173 
Steiner, F., "hour of faith", 360 
Steinmeyer, E. v., 15 
Stendahl, Kr., kerygma, 387 
Stenzel, Father, 103 
Stieglitz, H., Bible History, 106; 

catechism, 127; Munich Method, 

181-2, 183; trade school, 362 
Stierli, J., Sacred Heart, 395 
Strasser, B., liturgical year, 172 
Strater, J., retreat, 356 
Strauch, B., catechism, 128 

Streicher, F., history, 21 

Suarez, F., Age for Communion, 

Sudbrack, K., First Communion, 

Sullivan, Kathryn, and God's word 

and work, 114 

Tanner, P. F., synthesis, 162 
Tertullian, history, 2 
Thalhammer, D., personal expe- 
rience, 261 
Thalhofer, F. X., catechism, 117, 

118, 126 
Thauren, J., method, 193 
Theodore, of Mopsuestia, history, 7 
Third Reich, pastoral hour, 278-9 
Thomas Aquinas, 15; and cate- 
chism, 122, 147; celebration of 
feasts, 98; on the Command- 
ments, 149; Communion, 294; 
Decalogue, 150; on education, 
Thomas, St., Apostle, 249 
Thompson, J. W., Bible, 107 
Thurston, H. J., First Communion, 

Tilmann, Kl., Bible History, 109, 
114; Confession, 315 ; First Com- 
munion, 324; historical Christ, 
250; Mass, 234, 336, 337, 338; 
Offertory procession, 326; play- 
lets, 232; practice of virtue, 258; 
prayer, 264, 268; purity, 348; 
sex, 350, 351; singing, 270; and 
structure, 147 
Torpey, W. G., and religious 

rights, 43 
Toth, T., natural wonders, 260 
Trapp, W., First Communion, 


Trent, Council of and Reform, 

19-27, 51 ; and catechesis, 20-21, 

24; and Holy Communion, 298 

Trier (Treves), leaving school, 355 

Turmezei, F., Missal, 332 



Umstattd, J. G., and the Unit, 49 
United States, see America 
Utrecht, school leaving, 360 

Valentine, S. W., psychology, 81 

van Zeller, Hubert, and Old 
Testament, 113 

Vaun, Dr., and the catechism, 52 

Vawter, Bruce, and the Bible in the 
Church, 114 

Veit, L., 17 

Verheylezoon, L., Sacred Heart, 

Victor, Br. A., apologetics, 363 

Vienna, Congress, 33; instruction 
in, 88; lay teachers, 69; move- 
ment, 32; schools of, 198; see 
also Congress 

Vittoria, T. J., adolescence con- 
flicts, 81, 358 

von Gagern, Baron F., sex en- 
lightenment, 353 

Vospohl, W., trade school, 361, 
362, 365 

Wagner, Sr. M. A., sex instruc- 
tion, 351 

Waldmann, M., First Communion 

Wallenstein, A., child psychology, 

Walsh, F. A., National Center, 45 

Ward, J., on Shields, 47 

Ward, Maisie, 114 

Weber, B., deism, 239 

Weber, F., catechism, 118, 136; 
First Communion, 323 

Weber, J., catechism, 118 

Weekly, E., 18 

Weigel, G., and church, 145 

Weigl-Zinkl, picture books, 289 

Weiler, F., graduation, 355, 357 

Weis, M., graduation, 355, 357 

Weiss, }., working group, 367 

Weissenburger catechism, 15 
Wesemann, P., film, 228, 229 
West, P. S., college level, 368 
Westhoff, P., trade school, 361 
Westminster, Diocese of, Syl- 
labus, 407 
Wetzel, H. E., ideal of Christ, 374 
Wicki, J., Xavier, 252 
Wiesheu, J., Bible, 161, 162 
Wilfried, Sr. N., rhymes, 204 
Willam, F. M., and catechism, 125 ; 
Decalogue, 151; "lesson unit" 
type, 128, 134, 138 
Williams, Archbishop, 61 
Willmann, O., on education, 93, 
195; formal steps, 180-2; in- 
struction, 190; steps, 181-5 
Willwoll, A., and will-formation, 

Winter, Vitus Anton, 28 
Winzen, D., symbols, 230 
Wisdorf, J., school leaving, 356, 

Witak, A., group activity, 197 
Wolfe, J. J., formal steps, 180 
Wolfe, J. M., method, 191 
Wolkenau, D., the Church, 249 
Wolker, L., trade school, 364 
Woroniecki, H., charity, 149, 150 
Wossner, G., activity, 197 
Wiirzburg, leaving school, 357 

Xavier, Sr., Francis, and faith, 

Yorke, P., and textbooks, 47 

Zarncke, L., conscience, 81 
Zeller, H., Confirmation, 340 
Zerba, C, Confirmation, 343 
Zezschwitz, G. v., kerygma, 404 
Ziehrer, W., First Communion, 

Ziller, Th., steps, 180-5, 189 
Zoepfl, F., Mass, 336 



Abbreviated Catechism, in adoles- 
cence, 91 ; of Drinkwater, 62 

Abridgement of Christian Doctrine , 
of Challoner, 53 

Absolution, and First Confession, 
305, 307, 309 

Abstract notions, and young child, 
85 ; and liturgy, 98 ; and reality, 
86; value of, 88 

Abuses, of frequent Communion, 

"Acroamatic", method, in Winter, 

Active school ,1 57-204 ; in America, 
194, 195; vs. authoritarian, 157; 
limitations of, 199; meaning of, 
195; personal experience, 205; 
shortcomings of, 198-9 

"Activity" method of, principle, 
194-5, 200; personal experience, 
207; and teacher, 204; work- 
book, 272 

Actuality, in basic catechism, 168; 
of subject matter, 157 

Adaptation, of language, 237 

Adaptive Way, The, and Confra- 
ternity, 43 

Adolescent, and catechist's person- 
ality, 75; chastity, 347-8; in 
children, 79; and environment, 
87; and faith, 249-51; and 
Mass, 337-8; and prayer, 
267-8; and secondary level, 
373, teen-age characteristics, 89; 
and a trade, 358 

Adults, and adolescence, 90; in- 
structed in M. A., 1, 13; Reform, 
25; trade school, 365-6; in 
U. S. A., 52 

Advent, celebration of, 216 

Age, for catechism, 406-7; for 

First Communion, 290-300; for 
First Confession, 290-300, 310 to 
13; for Confirmation, 341-3; 
of questioning, 81 
Age of enlightenment, see Era 
Aids, see Visual aids, and auditual 
Aim, of Sower Scheme, 57 
Altar, liturgy, 100 
Ambassador of God, the catechist, 

Ames Vaillants, in France, 40 
Analysis, in MunichMethod, 190 to 

Anecdotes, see Examples 
Anni discretions, 164; for commu- 
nion, 295 ; for Confession, 302 to 
303; and Confirmation, 341-2; 
meaning of, 293-294, 295 
Annual Confession, see Easter duty 
Answers, in active school, 196-197, 
203; in adolescence, 90; Balti- 
more, 134; in Challoner, 54-55; 
in Einheitskatechismus, 122; in 
England, 135; in present Eng- 
land, 406-7; "lesson unit" 
catechism, 133; in M. A. cate- 
chesis, 14; memory work, 277 to 
278; Quinet and Boyer, 129; in 
Reform, 26; retention of, 126; 
in Sower Scheme, 63; teaching 
plan, 156; for youth, 366-368; 
in Winter, 28; 
Antiquity, and instruction, 1; ef- 
fects of, on religious training, 1 
Apologetics, see Fundamental 

Apostles' Creed, see Creed 
Apostolate, sacrament of, 340-1 
Apperception, in "learning by 
doing' 1 , 195 



Application, active school, 200, 201 ; 
biblical catechesis, 219; formal 
step, 181, 182; homework, 270 to 
274; and the Mass, 334-335; 
memory work, 277; personal 
experience, 212-214; in prayer, 

Apprenticeship, in teacher train- 
ing, 74 

Arbeitsschule, 196 

Arrangement, of catechism, 142; 
Deharbe, 139; of matter, se- 
condary level, 370-1 

Art, religious, and personal expe- 
rience, 213-14 

Assembly, religious, active school, 
203-4 ; personal experience, 

Assent, in creed, 386; of faith, 

Assistance, at Mass, forms of, 335 to 

Atmosphere, Christian, in M. A., 
19; in family, 32, 38; personal 
experience, 209-10; religious, 
and First Communion, 319 

Attention, distributive, 72 

Attire, for First Communion, 326 

Attitude, see Moral sense ; physical, 
for prayer, 264-5; for reli- 
gious, 285 

Authoritative Method, and con- 
centric cycle, 157; Munich meth- 
od, 188; see Method 

Ave Maria, see Hail Mary 

Baltimore Catechism, difficulties 
with, 35; make-up, 134; origin 
of, 34; theory, 119-20 

Baptism, adults, 7; children (in- 
fant) 8, 9; in catechism, 146; and 
Confirmation, 340-2 ; Com- 
munion, 291 ; and Creed, 381-2, 
384; deferred, 3, 9; in history, 
2, 6, 11-12; kerygma, 392-3; 
mass, 7-8; Mystical Body, 297, 

340; questions for, 126; rites of, 
8 ; symbols for, 404 

Baptismal vows, see Vows, bap- 

Basic Catechism, content of, 166; 
definition of, 165; teaching 
plan, 165-168 

Basic truths, in basic catechism, 
165-166; in Religion Book, 110 

Betsingmesse, 336 

Biblical catechesis, 158-60, 162; 
memorization in, 275, 277; 
method for 174, 175, 217-21 

Bible, in "lesson unit", 161; me- 
mory work, 276; secondary 
level, 371, 374 

Bible History, for Christ, 144; in 
Italy, 50; method for, 217; pic- 
tures, 133; plan, 158-9; pro- 
gressive school, 158; in school, 
28, 31; in Sower Scheme, 59; 
subject matter, 103-14; "sym- 
biosis", 161; tool, 97 

Bible Readers, for children, 108 

Biographies, and Church history, 

Birmingham Scheme, 407 

Bishop, and Confirmation, 344; 
lay catechists, 67; and teacher 
training, 69-70; and teaching 
office, 51; universal catechism, 

Bishops' Conference, see Fulda 

Blackboard, in England, 135; 
visual aid, 224-6, 230-1 ; work, 

Blessed Sacrament, see Holy Com- 

Blessing, priestly, 263 

Booklet, religion, teaching plan, 
156-7, 158 

Boy Scouts, Catholic, in England 
71 ; in France, 40 

Bread, Eucharistic, and Christ, 



"Calling", and work, 364 
Canon Law, and catecheses, 51-52; 
on catechetical instruction, 290; 
and catechists, 65-7; and chil- 
dren, 80; on first Communion, 
290-300, 321-4; on First Con- 
fession, 302-16; on Confir- 
mation, 341-2; and god- 
parents, 345-6; on Sacraments, 
290-1 ; pastors, 66 
Capital sins, 302; and examina- 
tion of conscience, 310 
Cap turn, see Mental capacity 
Catechesis, in antiquity, 1-10; 
biblical or liturgical, 159-60, 
162; in Canon Law, 66-9; 
definition of, xi-xii; in England, 
31-64, 52-64; in Italy, in France, 
in U. S. A.; and kerygma, 387 
footnote; kinds of, 174-9; 
and leaving school, 354-358; 
and liturgy, 101 ; in Middle Ages, 
11-19; model, on Church, 273- 
4 ; purpose of, 262 ; and teaching 
plan, 155-157; school, 27-37, 
92-3 ; on sin, 352-3 ; in teacher 
training, sample, 73; Tridentine 
Reform, 19-27; 
Catechetical Movement, 32-4; 
Bible History, 105; catechism, 
121-2, 127; in England, 52-65; 
in France, 37-40; in Italy, 49-52; 
method, 175-6, 179-80; ter- 
minology in, 190; in the U. S. A. 
Catechetical schools, 2, 69 
Catechetics, and biblical catechesis, 
160; definition of, xii; in Eng- 
land, 55; personal experience, 
205 ; and teacher, 73 
Catechism-cat echesis, compared, 
217-18; difficulty of, 175; and 
disturbances, 282-3; in Italy, 
50; memory work, 277; prin- 
ciples for, 175-93; visual aids 
for, 224-6; in school, 31 

Catechism, for adults, liturgy, 99; 
arrangement of Canisius, 22; 
basic, 165-8; and Bible His- 
tory, 103, 105; and Cateche- 
tical Method, 34; and Confession 
305, 306; Deharbe, 31; divi- 
sion of, 139; in Drinkwater, 
56-58; in England, 53, 55, 406-7; 
and faith, 248; forerunners of, 
15; internal form, 136-51; 
French, 131; of Hirscher, 30; 

Catechism, (cont.) "home-made", 
of Scarre, 59; and kerygma, 394; 
"lesson-unit", 128-30; on sec- 
ondary level, 371-2 ; and liturgy, 
148; and Mass, 334; memori- 
zation of, 275-6; in method, 
188; external organization, 
123-36; origin, 20, 116; of 
Overberg, 29; progressive me- 
thod, 158; pictures, 133; and 
prayer, 262, 266; place of, in 
instruction, 48 ; in school period, 
31; in Sower Scheme, 61-3; 
summaries of faith, 20-1; sub- 
ject matter, 114-23; in "sym- 
biosis", 161; tool, 97; in upper 
grades, 159-60; use of, in 
Reform, 26; Weissenburger, 15; 
in Westminster, 63-4; in Win- 
ter, 28; 

Catechism of Christian Doctrine 
necessary for Children, 52 

Catechism of the Third Council of 
Baltimore, 34, see Baltimore 

Catechisme de perseverance, in France, 

Catechismus Catholicus, 120, 141, 166 

Catechismus Romanus, arrangement 
of, 24; communion of saints, 
383; Confirmation, 341-2, 
344; First Communion, 300; 
and kerygma, 394; Catechist, 
God's ambassador, 245-6; in 
antiquity, 2; and biblical cate- 



chesis, 160; concentric cycle, 
156-157; "lesson unit" cate- 
chism, 136; Confirmation, 345; 
definition of, xiv; and family, 
76; himself, visual aid, 273; in 
Italy, 50; manner of, 281 ; matter 
of, 149; and method, 175, 178, 
188; person of, 65-78; in per- 
sonal experience, 208; and Pius 
V, 23-24; and priest, 77, 223 
role of, 196, 198; and structure 
and teaching plan, 154-7 
training of, 65-78; and trade 
school, 361-2, 364; visual aid, 

Catechists, professional, 66 

Catechists, Women, see Women 

Catechumen, in antiquity, 4; defi- 
nition of, xiv 

Catechumenate, division of, 2-4; 
duration, 2, 6, 7 '; end of 8; origin 
of, 2; and prayer, 263; religious 
assembly, 215; subject matter of, 
97; traditional catechism, 116. 

Catholic Action, and Confirmation 
340-1 ; in Italy, 50 

Catholic Catechism, The, 16, 120, 
131, 141; liturgy, 102; and 
memory work, 276 

Catholic Instruction League, 41 

Catholic Scout Organization, in 
England, 91 

Causality, notion of, in child, 82; 
principle of, 81 

Centres, teaching, National CCD, 
45; and religious instruction, 39 

Ceremonies, liturgical, in M. A., 
19; sketches of, 226-7 

Certitude, of faith, 251 

Character, formation of, 284-5 

Charism, catechetical, 71 

Chastity, training in, 346-54; and 
trade school, 364-5 

Child, age for First Communion, 
290-300 ; religious assembly, 

216-17; centre of religious 
training, 56, in catechesis, 79 to 
92; and education, 92-7; envi- 
ronment, 97; habits, 94-5; 
"lesson-unit" catechism, 130-2; 
and liturgy, 98-104; Mu- 
nich Method, 190; and notion 
of God, 82-3; phase at ten, 87; 
and physical surroundings, 
281-2; point of departure, 
58-59; in active school, 196-7, 
200; and sorrow, contrition, 315. 

Child Jesus, First Communion, 298 

Child psychology, 80; in active 
school, 196-7; in catechism, 
124, 128-9; change at ten, 
87 ; First Communion, 324 ; First 
Confession, 308-10; Munich 
Method, 1 89-90 ; secondary 
level, 375-6; and a trade, 

Children, see Child 

Children, instruction of, in anti- 
quity, 1, 8-9; division of, in 
Reform, 26; in M. A. instruc- 
tions, 16; in present day, 37-48; 
Trent, 19, 21, 25-6. 

Children's Mass, and First Com- 
munion, 326; for instruction, 

Christ, arrangement of catechism, 
142-5; basic theme, 101; and 
child, 88; in concentration, 171 ; 
and Confession, 316; and the 
Creed, 378-80, 381; and edu- 
cation, 96; in the Eucharist, 
323, 325; and God, 392; ideal, 
catechist, 71; in early Christian 
instruction, 1-2; and kerygrna, 
388-389; and kerygmatic theo- 
logy, 400-2; in kindergarten, 
287; secondary level, 373-4; 
living, in Church, 249-50; and 
Sacraments, 147; suffering, and 
contrition, 312 

Christ, (cont.) symbols for, 404; 



and teacher, 76 ; teaching meth- 
od, 182-3; and trade school, 

Chris t-centredness, in catechism, 
143-4; and concentration, 
170-1; language for, 237; and 
means of salvation, 145-6; 
and kerygmatic theology, 400-1 

"Christ Child ,, , and Eucharist, 323 ; 
and Santa Claus, 86; in sex 
education, 349 

Christian Doctrine, for adults, 67; 
and catechetics, viii; and keryg- 
ma, 387-8; Reformation times 
25-6; secondary level, 369, 
373-4; trade school, 363 

Christlich-Padagogische Blatter, and 
Vienna, 32 

Christmas, assembly on, 216-17; 
and Creed, 381; and kerygma, 

Christology, and Creed, 378-81 ; 
and God, 143-4 

Christuskerygma, 380-1 

Church, and catechesis, 209; and 
the liturgy, 99; observation 
tour of, 223-4 

Church, definition of; catechesis 
on, 273-4; and Christ-cen- 
tredness, 145; Apostles' Creed, 
379-82; doctrine of, 249-50; 
and faith, 247; in German 
Catechism, 406; Holy Spirit, 
383-4, 385; in liturgy, 100; 
and the Mass, 333; Mystical 
Body, 392-3; phenomenon 
of, 107; on secondary level, 372; 
visuality of, 223, 224 

Church History, with Bible His- 
tory, 107; Quinet and Boyer, 
129; secondary level, 370, 372 

Church music, and hymns, 269 to 

Civitas Dei, 372 

Class (es), First Confession, 307-9; 
' 'recard", 173 ; in schools, 153, 154 

Clergy, advantage of, 66-7; in 
England, 77; and Mass, 332; and 
religion teaching, 5-6, 13, 34, 
65, 66; and sex education, 350 to 
351 ; as teachers, 70-1 

"Closed season", and a trade, 

Code, see Moral code 

Codex Iuris Canonici, see Canon 

Coeurs vaillants, in France, 40 

Collaboration, see Cooperation 

Commandments, see Ten Com- 

Commission Nationale du Catechisme, 

Communicants, First, see First 

Communicatio idiomatum, 392 

Communion, daily, 296-297 r ; First 
Communion, 290-300; Middle 
Ages, 13 ; practice in England, 55 

Communion of saints, Church, 

Communion solennelle, in France, 38, 
39, 327 

Community, and Catechetical Mo- 
vement, 33; and chastity, 364; 
influence of, 27; and religious 
life in Middle Ages, 17-18 

Community Mass, and First Com- 
munion, 326; and children, 340; 
instructions on, 336 

Competentes, and catechumenate, 4 ; 
distinction, 304 

Completion, of Baptism, Con- 
firmation, 340-342 

Compositions, revelations in, 85 

Compulsory School Attendance, 
27-8; advantages, 27; after- 
wards, 89; and Bishops, 51; 
catechesis within, 152-3; Com- 
munion, 316-17; in England, 54; 
in France, 39 ; pastoral hour, 281 ; 
and sex, 346-7 ; in teacher train- 
ing, 73 



Concentration, meaning of, 168-9 

Concentric circles, basic catechism, 
167; disadvantages of, 156-7; 
in teaching plan, 156 

Concreteness, stage of; in child, 81 ; 
in knowledge, 84; progressive 
method, 158; visual aids, 222-3 

Conduct, and education, 94; in 
catechism, 143-5 

Confession, of devotion, 303, 313; 
and frequent Communion, 329 ; 
instruction in Middle Ages, 14; 
instruction on, 300-16; and 
Lateran Council IV, 292-5; 
teaching plan, 163; see First 

Confession, of sins, 312-13 

"Confessional booklets", in Middle 
Ages, 14, 16 

Confessional mirrors, see Table 
of sins 

Confessor, and First Confession, 

Confirmation, catechesis for, 
340-6; Protestant, and First 
Communion, 325; and school 
leaving, 354-5; teaching plan, 

Confiteor, and Confession, 313 

Confraternity of Christian Doc- 
trine, Baltimore Catechism, 35; 
and First Communion, 323; 
origin of, 25; 41; organization 
of, in U. S. A., 42; and Pius XI, 
52; publications, in U. S. A., 
42-3; and State schools, 68-9; 
in the U. S. A., 41-8 

Congregation of Rites, 1958; In- 
struction, 339 

Congress, Catechetical, Inter- 
American, 46; in Munich, 34, 
160, 175, 196, 342, 344; National 
Catechetical, 46; in Rome, 
World, 50-1 ; in Vienna, 33, 34, 
110, 153, 195 

Conscience, examination of, 149; 

First Confession, 309-10; for- 
mation of, 256-61 ; treatment 
of, 243. See Formation, and 
Examination of Conscience. 

Consecration, of the Mass, 332-3, 

Consignatoriwn, 341 

Construction, of catechism, 138-9 

Continuation school, 361 

Contrition, and Confession, 309-12 
interior, for Confession, 315; 
kinds of, 311 ; for sins, 304-5 

Controversies, for catechism, 116, 

Cooperation, in active school, 200; 
community, in USA, 197; in 
learning process, 194, 195 

Cooperation, parents and cate- 
chists, 78 

Correlation, and concentration, 

Correspondence School Classes, 44 

Council, Congregation of, 52 

Council, Third Baltimore, see 
Third Baltimore Council 

Course of study, in Italy, 50; in 
Drinkwater, 63; for music, 270; 
see Teaching plan, syllabus 

Creator, and sex education, 352 

Creed, Apostles', and catechism, 
116, 147; Apostles', history of, 
377; Athanasian, 379 ; basic cate- 
chism, 166; baptismal, 380; in 
Catechesis, 5, 8, 10, 16; in cate- 
chism 15; and kerygma, 389-90; 
memorization of, 275; Nicene, 
384 ; prayer formula, 19 ; Roman, 
380-4; subject matter, 97; in 
Middle Ages, 13 

Crusade, Eucharistic, 40 

Curriculum, high schoollevel, 369, 
373; and hymns, 269 

Customs, religious, home, 101-102 ; 
in M. A. catechesis, 17 

Cycles, liturgical year, 101 



"Daily bread", and Communion, 

Day, of recollection, 356-7 
De catechizandis rudibus, 4; and 

Gruber, 30 
Death, danger of, and First Com- 
munion, 298-9 
Deceit, capacity for, in child, 293-5 
Decorations, influence of, 285 
"Deepening", personal experience, 
214-15; and prayer, 263; and 
school leaving, 355-6; for sum- 
mary, 182; visual aid for, 229, 
Defence, through catechism, 117 
Definitions, and the catechism, 22, 

36; in "lesson" unit, 133 
Deism, in catechesis, 238-9 
"Demythologizing", of Bultmann, 

Denominational school, 152 
Deportment, at Mass, 337-8 
Der Klain Katechismus, and Cani- 

sius, 21 
Development, sexual, in adoles- 
cence, 89; spiritual, in second- 
ary school, 367 
Devotio moderna, and kerygma, 393 
Devotion, for Communion, 294; 

Confessions of, 303, 313 
Didactics, and Munich Method, 

Didascalics, and kerygma, 387 

Differences, in children, 80 
Differential psychology, and child, 

80; in tenth year, 89 
Diocesan Prayer and Hymn Book, 
in Bible History, 109; in liturgy, 
Directive teaching, and instruc- 
tion, 95 
Discipline, in adolescence, 89; 
condition for success, 281-3; in 
education 94, 95; personal ex- 
perience, 209-10; of secret, 5, 6,7 

Discussion, in active school, 201, 
202, 204; formation of con- 
science 257-8; in Fulda Confer- 
ence, 199; informative, 196-7; 
secondary level, 375-6; in trade 
school, 365 

Discussion Clubs, of Confrater- 
nity, 44 

Dispositions, cultivation of, and 
education, 94; for First Com- 
munion, 298-300; from liturgy, 

Division, of matter, in catechism, 
63, 143-7; in Creed, 385; in 
secondary schools, 370 

Doctrine, and religious knowledge, 

Doctrine for Juniors, of Drinkwater, 

Dogma, and catechism, 166, 118; 
history of, and kerygma, 388; 
and liturgy, 98 ; secondary level, 

Doli cap ax, see Deceit, capacity for 

Dottrina Cristiana breve da im- 
pararsi, 22 

Douai Catechism, 53 

Doubts, vs. faith, 186-7 

Downside Review, and catechet- 
ics, 64 

Doxology, and kerygma, 390-1 

Dramatization, in Drinkwater, 48 ; 
in Sower Scheme, 59, 61; visual 
aid, 232-3; drawing, in active 
school, 202-4; visual aid, 

Early First Communion, 39, 55, 
136, 317-9, 325-6 

Easter, Apostles' Creed, 381 ; and 
Baptism, 2; catechetical role, 10; 
historically, and kerygmatics, 
403; liturgical cycle, 101; plays, 
17; vigil of, and Baptism, 6; and 
kerygma, 390 

Easter Communion, 292-5 ; 



Easter duty, Communion, 292-5; 
Confession, 302-03 

Easter Play, see Mystery Plays 

Easter Vigil, and baptismal vows, 

Ecclesiastical year, see Year, litur- 

Economy, of salvation, 103 

Education, and catechetical revival, 
33-34; and catechist, 169; and 
instruction, 93-94 ; and teaching, 
92-97; see Parents, and En- 

Education Act, in England (1903), 

Einheitskatechismus, and Cateche- 
tical Movement, 34; in Germany 
and Austria, 121-3 

Electi, in catechumenate, 4, 8 

Endearment, terms of, in catechesis, 

Endowment, original, for cate- 
chist, 72 ; see Catechists, pro- 

England, catechism, 134-5; and 
Confirmation, 341-2; and con- 
tinental catechisms, 406-07; ob- 
jectives, in catechetics, 407; 
survey, 52-64 

Enlightenment, see Era, and Sex 

Enlightenment, sex, see Sex en- 

Enumerations, for catechism, 138; 
in kerygma, 393; in M. A., 138 

Environment, in M. A., 18-19; 
catechism, 125; community, in 
M.A., 18; and children, 87-8, 
and spirutal life, 97; in Cate- 
chetical Movement, 32-3; pro- 
gressive method, 159; kerygma, 
137-8; on small children, 285-6; 
visual aid, 233 

Epiphany, and kerygma, 390-1 

Era of enlightenment, active school 
201-2; Bible History, 105; 
catechism, 188; and kerygma, 

395; and mysteries, 243; nature 
of, 27-28; question form, 126; 
and religious instruction, xii; 
use of language, 238-9 

Eros, pedagogical, 71 

"Erotematic" method, and Winter, 

Eucharist, see also First Commun- 
ion, Holy Communion, Mass 

Eucharistic Movement, in M. A., 

Evaluation, and prayer, 262 

"Evil desire", and chastity, 348-9 

Examination, in catechumenate, 
3-2, 10; of conscience, 257-8, 
309-10; for First Communion, 
300, 327; religion tests, 278; 
see also Conscience 

Example(s), biblical, for Confes- 
sion, 311; collections of, 234; 
"lesson unit", 131; from Scrip- 
ture, 131 

Exegesis, and catechesis, 177-8 

Existence, of God, 255 ; proofs, for 
God, 255-6 

Exorcisms, and Baptism, 8; and 
catechumenate, 3-4; and in- 
struction, 3, 10 

Explanation, active school, 200-02 ; 
biblical catechesis, 218-19; for- 
mal steps, 181-2, 190; method, 
222; personal experience, 211; 
and prayer, 263; visual aids for, 

Explanation, step of, and applica- 
tion, 214; in personal experi- 
ence, 213-14 

"Exploratory" question, 201-202 

Externals, in adolescence, 90; and 
child, 85; personal experience, 

Faith, act of, and Creed, 386 ; and 
kerygma, 396; in active school, 
199; in catechism, 141; in 
catechesis, 244-56; dangers, 185; 



and education, 93-4; profession 
of, at Baptism, 275 ; and second- 
ary schools, 366; sins against, 
183-8; and theology, 96 
Fairy-tale, in catechesis, 244; and 

child, 82, 84 
Family, and catechesis, 9-10; and 
catechist, 76; and First Com- 
munion, 320; kinds of, and 
child, 87; and prayer, 101; and 
small children, 285; and trade 
school, 364 
Father, human, and God, 83 
Fatherhood, in sex education, 352 
Feast of the Catechism, 50, 52 
Feasts, and education, 93; and 
kerygma, 390-1 ; and kerygma- 
tics, 402-3; in liturgical year, 
101, 162; and truths of faith, 98 
Feeling, personal experience, 

207-8, 210-12 
"Felt need", and adolescence, 90 
Festivities, for First Communion, 

Fidei iussor, and Baptism, 10 
Fides Trinitatis, and kerygma, 392 
Figures of speech, see Speech 
Films, 228-9 

Film strip, visual aid, 228, 229 
First Communion, age for, in 
France, 38-39; in antiquity, 
6-7; catechesis, on 316-28; and 
catechist, 76; and Confirmation, 
344-46; early and late, 317-19; 
in England, 55, 77; and First 
Confession, 294-7; in France, 
38; in general, 290-300; and 
child growth, 84; newspapers, 
136; teaching plan, 163-5 
First Communicants, and cate- 
chist, 76; and the Mass, 330 
First Confession, age for 294-6; 
difficulties of, 301-2; instruc- 
tions on, 301-5 and priest 
catechist, 71; teaching plan, 
163-5; treatment of, 300-16 

''First five minutes", and hymns, 
268; and the Mass, 325 

"Five fingers", and Confession, 

Forgiveness, see Absolution 

Formation, of character, 284-5; 
through catechism, 128-9; of 
conscience, 256-61; lack of, in 
M. A., 19; in Catechetical Mo- 
vement, 33 

Formation of sentiments, see Sen- 
timents, formation of 

Formulas, in active school, 201; 
in R. Bellarmine, 23; in cate- 
chesis, 19; in catechism, 115, 
117; in concentric cycle, 157; 
in Canisius, 21 ; for Confession, 
310-11, 313; Drinkwater, 57; 
in M. A. Catechisms, 138; and 
kerygma, 389-90 ; memoriza- 
tion of, 275-6; prayer, 266-8; 
septenary, 83-4; Trinitarian, 
and Apostles' Creed, 378-82 

Frequency, of Communion, 292 

Frequent Communion, 296-7, 
325-6; after First Communion, 

"Fullness of spirit", Confirmation, 

Fundamental Theology, 73; and 
Confession, 316; enlightenment, 
239; secondary level, 371, 374-5 

Gallican Church, and Creed, 383 
Garden of the Soul, of Challoner, 53 
Gaul, and Communion, 292 
Genesis, Book of, in catechesis, 244 
Gentiles, and catechesis, 144 
Genuineness, in language, 237 
German Catechetical Society, 122 
German Catechism, and England, 
406-07; "lesson unit", 132; sex 
education, 348; see Catholic 
German catechisms, 148 
Gift, and Floly Communion, 323 



Gifts, of Redemption, in Creed, 

"Glad tidings", see "Good news" 

God, ascent to, 260; in chastity, 
347; and Christ centredness, 
143-4; and Christ, in keryg- 
ma, 392; and Apostles Creed, 
378-80; and faith, 255-6; king- 
dom of, 140; knowledge of, 363 ; 
notion of, 82-83, 150, 238-9; 
personal experience, 208; and 
trade school, 363; and science, 

God-centredness, and concentra- 
tion, 170-1 

Godparent, see Sponsors 

"Good-news", and conscience, 259. 
and Christ, 142, 143; and edu- 
cation, 92; in Deharbe, 138; 
personal experience, 208; and 
faith, 253 ; and kerygmatic theo- 
logy, 398-9, and liturgy, 98; 
and revelation, 96; in modern 
world, 395-6 

Gospels, Bible History, 103-4; 
communication of, 6 ; and keryg- 
ma, 388 ; Quinet and Boyer, 129 ; 
subject matter, 97 

Gospels, communication of, 64 

Grace, and Baptism, 392-3; and 
child, 79; and Christ-centred- 
ness, 145; in Creed, 382-4; 
division of catechism, 146; in 
education, 92; personal experi- 
ence, 206-7; and need, 254; 
and sex training, 352-4 

Grades, division of, 153-4; and 
confession instruction, 314-15; 
type of schools, 153 

Grading, of catechism, 124, 156; 
of Bible History, 109; rules for, 
110; "sacramental", 162-4 

Graduation, meaning of, 77 ; notes 
on, 354; rewards at, 283; and 
sex education, 351 ; see Commen- 

Gregorian chant, and children, 340 
Group work, 197; active school, 

"Growing thing", in child, in 

Sower Scheme, 59 
Guardian Angels, voice of, 243 
Guidance, of small children, 285-90 
Guild of Catechists, 78 
Gymnasium, 153 

Habits, in education, 94-5 
Hail Mary, in M. A., 13, 15 foot- 
note; and prayer-formulas, 267 ; 
in sex education, 349 
"Handing over", of Creed, 3 
Happiness, and St. Augustine, 4 
Hauptschule, in Austria, 152, 153 
Heaven, kingdom of, 140; treat- 
ment of, 244 
Herder-Bible, 107, 109 
Heresy, and catechisms, 117; and 
kerygma, 390; remnants of, 
in catechism, 138; sin of, 188 
High Mass, and children, 340 
High School, 153 
Hilaritas, and St. Augustine, 4; 
in classroom, 210; in education, 
Hilarity, concentration, 172; and 

faith, 252-3 
History of redemption (salvation), 
11 ; Bible History, 105, 106; and 
child, 85, 97; of Apostles' Creed, 
377-87; and revelation, 103; 
for secondary level, 370-1; 
Holy Communion, and newly 
baptized, 6-7; First Communion 
in France, 38; in early Church, 
291; and school leaving, 358; 
in M. A., 393; and priest cate- 
chist, 71 ; treatment of, 242-3 ; 
see also First Communion 
Holy Ghost, see Holy Spirit 
Holy Name, of Christ, etc., 144 
Holy Orders, and sex education, 



"Holy signs", actions, 338 

Holy Spirit, and Apostles' Creed, 

379-86 ; and Confirmation, 

Holy Trinity, see Trinity 
Home, and concentration, 169; 

conscience formation, 259; and 

Christian life, 97; and M. A., 

18, 25; personal experience, 210; 

work book, 273 
Homeland, personal experience, 

"Home-made" catechism, in Sower 

Scheme 59 
Home-work, drawing, 203; and 

parents, 289; in active school, 

200; and trade school, 365 
Homiletics, catechesis, 73; object 

of, xii 
"Hour of faith", see Pastoral hour 
Hymn(s), in liturgical catechesis, 

221, for Mass, 331 ; during Mass, 

337, 339; memorization of, 

276; in Munich Method, 189; 

and prayer, 268 ; in Sower Scheme 

59; training in, 268-9 
Hymnal, Diocesan, in liturgy, 100; 

training in, 270 

Ideal, in adolescence, 90; catechist, 
71; Christian, 365; and youth, 
75; ideals, religious, in adoles- 
cence, 90; in catechism, 121 

Ideas, kinds of, in children, 85 

Illustrations, in Bible History, 111 ; 
"lesson unit" catechism, 132-3; 
of Mass, 332-3; in M. A., 17; 
personal experience, 213-14; 
Quinet and Boyer 129 ; rules for, 
111-13; visual aid, 224-5 

Images, and concepts in child, 85; 
and reality, 86; and real world, 
in adolescence, 90 

Immanent repetition, 158; and 
memory work, 277 

Imperfect contrition, see Contrition 

Imposition, of hands, in early 

Church, 2, 4, 8 
Impuberes, growth, 80 
Impurity, and sex education, 347-8 
Incarnation, in Creed, 381 
Incidental instruction, and exi- 
stence of God, 256; in kinder- 
garten, 287; for liturgy, 102; 
teaching plan, 162 
Indifference, faith, 186, 253-4 
Induction, in catechism, 118 
Infant baptism, in antiquity, 8-9 
Infants, see Small children 
Infidelity, 187 

Instruction, and education, 93; see 
Incidental instruction, Religious 
Insufflation, and Baptism, 4, 8 
Intellectualism, danger of, 27; 
in English catechism, 54; in per- 
sonal experience, 205; and First 
Communion,290-1 ; in Hirscher, 
30; at present, 34; secondary 
level, 369; in visual aids, 229-30; 
intention, good, of Jehle, 213-14 
Interdenominational school, 68, 

77; in Austria, 152 
Interior life, and young child, 85; 
and education, 95; personal 
experience principle, 205; at 
ten, 87 
Intermediate grades, 374 
Introspection, and child, 90 

Jesus Christ, see Christ 
Jocists, in France, 40 
Joy, see Hilaritas, 
Jugendbewegung, see Youth Move- 

Kastner Bible, 108 

Katechetikj of Hirscher, 30, 166 

Katechetische Blatter, and catechism, 
122; and Munich, 32; and Mu- 
nich Method, 182-3 

Kerygma, and pastoral activity, 



387-97; and catechism, 116 
and Christian doctrine, 36 
history of, 387; need for, 137 
Roman Creed, 380-2; termi- 
nology, 137 
Kerygmatic theology, "theology 

of the 'message' ", 398-405 
Kerygmatics, proper term, 401 
Key words, visual aid, 231-2; on 
blackboard, 272; in memory, 
275; table of sins, 310-11 
Kindergarten, for children, 286-7 
Kingdom of God, in Bible history, 
106; in education, 96; personal 
experience, 205-06 ; of Heaven, 
140; kerygma, 396; notion of, 
140, 387; in revelation, 103 
Knowledge, characteristics of, 
84-86; in education, 92, 96; and 
faith, 244-56; and First Com- 
munion, 305, 323; religious, 92; 
on secondary level, 369; yearn- 
ing for, in child, 84-5 

Lady's Catechists, First Commu- 
nion, 308 

Language, in Bible History, 11, 
218; catechetical, use of, 233-8; 
of the catechism, 17, 34, 39, 
119, 133; help of, 282; in keryg- 
matic research, 401; qualities 
of, 234-6; in Sower Scheme, 59 

Last Supper, and Communion, 
321-2; and the Mass, 330-1 

Late First Communion, 317-18, 

Latin, in the Mass, 335-6 

Law, and conscience, 256-61 

Lay catechists, in Code, 67; in 
England, 78; in France, 38; in 
Italy, 50; "lesson unit" cate- 
chism, 131; pastoral hour, 281; 
in Reform, 26 ; training, 70-1 ; 
in U. S. A., 42, 68-96 

Lay-helpers, in code, 67 ; in France, 
38; in Italy, 50; pastoral hour, 

280; and retreats, school leavers 
356-7; and training, 70; in 
U. S. A., 42, 69 

"Learn by doing", and Catechet- 
ical Movement, 33; general 
method, 193-204; Dewey, in 
U. S. A., 49 

"Learn by heart", see Memorization 

Leaving school, 354-8 

Lehrplan, Rhineland-Pfalz, 374 

Leo-Bible, 106-7 

"Lesson unit", advantages of, 192; 
catechism, 125-34; and Eng- 
lish catechism, 406; homework, 
270-4; in teaching plan, 161; 
active school, 203 ; Scripture and, 

Lex orandi - lex credendi, 98 

Liber Didascalicus, 183 

Libica, and synthesis, 162 

Life, of grace, see Grace 

"Life everlasting", 384 

"Listen to Gospel", in antiquity, 3 

Liturgical catechesis, 174-5; steps, 

Liturgical instructions, see Litur- 
gical catechesis 

Liturgical Movement, and keryg- 
ma, 396 ; and Mass, 338 

Liturgies, and liturgy, 102 

Liturgy, in ancient catechesis, 2, 
10-11; and catechism, 114-15, 
148; concentration, 172; in Eng- 
land, 64; in France, 39-40; 
"lesson unit", 132; of the Mass, 
328-335 ; progessive method, 
158; in Middle Ages, 11, 16; 
and prayer, 265 ; in present day, 
39-40; on secondary level, 
371-2; in the Sower Scheme, 59, 
61; spiritual life, 97-103; in 
teaching plan, 159-60, 162; tool, 

Liverpool, and Scheme, 64 

Living My Religion, "lesson-unit" 
catechism, 130 



Living Rosary, 267 

Logic, in formal steps, 210-11 

Logos, primacy of, 98 

Lord's Prayer, in catechesis, 19; 
and catechism, 15, 148; in child, 
83; and Creed, 386; in M. A., 
13; subject matter, 97; teaching 
of, 262; traditio, 5; training in, 
267; treatment of, 242 

Love, in catechist, 71-2; through 
conscience, 262; from faith, 
245-6 ; of God, for children, 239 ; 
see Eros 

Lower grades, and audio-visual 
aids, 225; and catechist, 67-8; 
and child, 83-84; in England, 
61; and Bible History, 109-10; 
and language, 243; and Mass, 
331; and teaching plan, 153-4, 
159; trade school, 362 

Low Mass, assistance at, 337 

Low Sunday, rite of, 7 

Lumen Vitae, 37 

Make-up, psychological, of child, 

174-5, 176-9, 222, 335; and 

secondary school, 367-8, 373, 

375; and a trade, 358-60 
Manuals, for Confraternity, 43 
Map, of life, 91 ; and education, 93; 

and school leaving, 356 
Maps, wall, visual aid, 226-7 
Marks, of Church, 249 
Marriage, purpose of, and sex, 

348 ; and trade school, 364 
Mary, and concentration, 171 ; and 

Creed, 381-2, 385 ; feasts of, 391 ; 

and God, 392; historically, in 

kerygmatics, 403 
Mass, aim, 329-30; assistance at, 

335-6; at school beginning, 288; 

and Communion, 201, 322-3; 

catechesis on, 329-40; focal 

point, 110-01 ; forms of, 337-8; 

and godparents, 6; history, 4; 

kerygma, 396; school leaving, 

357; prayer, 262-4; special, for 
children, 339 

Mass-conversions, and instruc- 
tions, 3, 7 

Material-kerygmatic, see Kerygma 

Matrimony, and sex education, 352 

Meditations, of Challoner, 53 

Meetings, 1; parents, 76; pastoral 
hour, 280 

Memoranda, amount of, 275-7; 
see Memorization 

Memorization, in antiquity, 5; in 
concentric cycle, 156 ; and Creed, 
386; in Drinkwater, 61, 63; in 
Einheitskatechismus, 122; in Eng- 
land, 55, 406; in "lesson unit", 
133; and the Mass, 331-2; in 
method, 222, 276-7; necessity 
of, 274; of prayers, 266-7; pur- 
pose of, 275-8; in Reform, 26; 
visual aids, 232 ; see also Memo- 
randa, Questions 

Mental capacity, in catechism, 123; 
of children, 118; concentric 
cycle, 156-7; knowledge for 
First Communion, 298-9; and 
the Mass, 335; and a trade, 

"Message", and catechism, 137-8; 
Catholic Christianity, 274-5 ; 
and Christian doctrine, 36; and 
kerygma 387-95; and teaching, 

Message, theology of, 398-405 

Messe commentee, in France, 339 

Messiah, in instruction, 1 

Method, active, authoritarian, 
progressive, 157; analytic and 
synthetic, 190-1 ; catechetical, 
xiii; in Drinkwater, 56-60; dis- 
cussion, 196; in England, 52-4; 
personal experience, 210-11; 
general, 174-93; group work, 
197-8; and Landrieux, 39-40; 
"learn by doing", 49 ; for second- 
ary level, 375-6; in M. A., 18; 



in Munich, 33; in Vienna, 32; 
visual aids, 229-31 ; in U. S. A., 

Methode active, in France, 40 

Methode historique, in France, 39 

Methode intuitive, in France, 39 

Methodological units, see Units 

Methodology, in Drinkwater, 
59-60; in teacher training, 70, 
73-4; teaching, 175-93; Kautz, 
210-12; in U. S. A., 46-8 

Middle Ages, catechesis in, 11-19; 
catechism, 117; First Commu- 
nion, 294; First Confession, 
305-6 ; Confirmation, 341-2 ; 
Apostles' Creed, 377-8, 385; 
and godparents, 345-6; Bible 
history, 104; and kerygma, 391 ; 
and myths, 402 

Minores, 80 

Missa cantata, 339-40 

Missa recitata, 336 

Missal, children's, 331-2 

Missio canonica, 69; and teacher 
training, 70 

Missionary countries, and cate- 
chism, 124 footnote; catechism- 
catechesis, 193 footnote 

Mission sermon, 1 

Missions, and kerygma, 394 

Models, 223-6 

Modernization, of Bible history, 

Modesty, and chastity, 346-7 

Moral code, in catechism, 141, 146, 
150; secondary level, 373; and 
sin, 314-15 

Moral instruction, biblical cate- 
chesis, 220; in catechism, 118, 
121; in enlightenment, 107; in 
Bible history, 109; in kerygma, 
393; on sins, 314 

Moral sense, 256-61; and prayer, 

Moral theology, biblical catechesis, 
220; in catechism, 118, 121, 

1 39; 1 50-1 ; conscience forma- 
tion, 258-9; secondary level, 
373; and sins, 314-15 

Morality, in biblical catechesis, 
220; in catechism, 149, 150 

Mortal sin, capacity for, 293-6, 
299 ; Easter duty, 303 ; and venial, 

Mother, influence of, 209, 236, 
284; see Parents 

Motherhood, in sex education, 
348-9, 352 

Motives, formation of conscience, 

Munich Method, difficulties of, 
33-4; origin of, 33, 181; sub- 
ject matter for, 189; in U. S. A., 

Music teacher, 269-70 

Mystagogical Catecheses, five, 7 

Mysteries, in basic catechism, 
167-8; knowledge of, for First 
Communion, 298-9 

Mystery, of Christ, 142-5; and 
enlightenment, in kerygma, 395 ; 
treatment of, 243 

4 'Mystery of life", and sex, 352-3 

Mystery plays, Bible history, 194; 
in M. A., 17; visuahty, 232 

Mystical Body, and Christ, 146; 
and Church, 249, 392 ; and Com- 
munion, 297 

Mysticism, German, and kerygma, 

Narratio, of St. Augustine, 4 

Narration, in instruction Augus- 
tine, 4; in catechism, and chil- 
dren, 115; in Gruber, 30; in 
Overberg, 29 

National Catechism, in England, 

Native land, concentration, 169; 
personal experience, 210; cons- 
cience formation, 259; active 
school, 196 



Nature, and conscience formation, 

Need, and faith, 253-4; for God, 

255; and grace, 254-5 
Negative, of Commandments, 150 
Nell Series, pictures, 226 
Nelson Collection, pictures, 226 
Neophytes, and catecheses, 5 
Neutral schools, pastoral hour, 280 ; 
pre-school child, 290 ; and teach- 
ing 68, 77 
"New doctrine", and Luther, 20 
Newman Clubs, and Confrater- 
nity, 45 
Newspapers, for children, 135 
New Testament, and Confession, 
221; demythologizing of, 412; 
economy of salvation, 103-4; for 
graduation, 108; and kerygma, 
388-8; in Religion Book, 110 
Notebooks, in England, 135 ; home- 
work, 271-4 
Notes, for religion, 249 
Notions, and knowledge, 179-80 
Notre Dame, Sisters of, and the 

will, 211 
Nuns, see Sisterhoods 

Obedience, morality of, and Con- 
fession, 308 

Observation, for catechetics, 223; 
for first Communion, 323-4; 
for Mass, 330-1 

Offertory, and leaving school, 358; 
procession and the Mass, 333; 
procession, and school leaving, 

Office, Catechetical Central, 45 

Officium Catechisticum, in Rome, 52 

Old Testament, in Religion Book, 
110; in catechism, 148; and in 
concentration, 171-2; economy 
of salvation, 103-4; kerygma, 
388-9; and sacrifice, 331 

One-class school, in Catechetical 
Congress, 153-4 

"Optional Scheme" and Drink- 
water, 61 

Opus Catechisticum, 21 

Opus operands, and early First Com- 
munion, 318-20 

Opus Tripartitum, 16 

Orbis Catholicus, 69, 110 

Orders, religious, and religion 
teaching, 67 

Organizations, youth, need lor, 19 

Original prayers, 264-7 

Ou en est V enseignement religieux, 

Our Father, see Lord's Prayer 

Our Holy Faith, "lesson unit" cate- 
chism, 130 

Our Lady's Catechists, in England, 

Our Parish Confraternity, 46 

Panchristism, in catechesis, 170 

Panel discussions, 197 

Parables, biblical catechesis, 220; 
use of, 140 

Parent Educator, and mothers, 44 

Parents, age for First Communion, 
290-300; and catechist, 76; first 
catechists, 286; celebration of 
First Communion, 324-5; and 
discipline, 383; catechetical his- 
tory, 8, 9, 10-11; "lesson unit" 
catechism, 131, 132; and sex 
education, 349-50 ; and children' s 
training, 65; work-books, 273; 
school's work, 289; steadying 
influence of, 87 

Parish, and catechesis, 25, 38; and 
concentration, 169; pastoral 
hour, 279 

Parochial, Mass, 339-40 

"Parrot-learning" for Drinkwater, 
48, 61 ; in memory, 276 ; teaching 
plan, 156 

Participation, in the Mass, 338-40 

Particular, and child, 84; and edu- 
cation, 95 



Parvus Catechismus Catholicorum, of 

Canisius, 22 
Passion, in Creed, 381-2 
Passion Play, see Mystery play 
Passive reception, personal expe- 
rience, 205 
Pastor, advantage of, 66-7; in 
Canon Law, 66; and Catechet- 
ical Movement, 34; and First 
Communion, 300 ;and First Con- 
fession, 304-6; role of in M. A., 
Pastoral hour, 278-83 ; meaning of, 
279; postgraduate, 360 footnote 
Pastoral office, and parents, 11 
Pedagogy, in catechism, 118; for 
catechists, 2-3, 73; ecclesiastical, 
and catechetics, xii; in Bible 
History, 109 
Pedagogy of the Will, see Will 

Penance, Sacrament of, first Con- 
fession, 300-16; and Creed, 384; 
and religious instruction in M. 
A., 14, obligation of, 299-300; 
public, 3; and sex training, 354; 
teaching plan, 164; see also Con- 
Penance, given by priest, 309-11 
Penitentials, in M. A., 12 
Penny Catechism, of Challoner, 54 
Pentecost, and Confirmation, 344 
Perceptibility, in catechesis, 179-80, 

183; Munich Method, 189-90 
Perception, and knowledge, 
179-80; step of, 181-3, 194-5 
Perfect contrition, see Contrition 
Pericopes, in Bible History, 104-8 
Person, education of, whole, 169 
Person, of Christ, see Christ 
Personal experience, formation of 
conscience, 258-60; principle of, 
193, 204-17 
Personality, of catechist, 75, 77 
Perth Plan of McMahon, 49 
Phantasy, and reality, 86 

Picture book, for first grades, 158 

Pictures, Bible, 110-11; Catechet- 
ical, in M. A., liturgical cere- 
monies, 227; "lesson unit" cate- 
chism, 132-3; of the Mass, 
331-2; and method, 229-31; 
personal experience, 213-14; 
Quinet and Boyer, 129 ; rules for, 
111-12; visual aid, 224-5; see 

Picturial, visual aid, 228, 229 

Piety, early in child, 87 

Plan, teaching, 152-65; advan- 
tages of, 154; principles of, 
152-5; qualities of, 155; for 
secondary level, 373 

Polemics, in Canisius, 22 

Popes, see under individual Popes 

Posters, in M. A. catechesis, 16 

Potentia ohedientialis, 254 

Practica Catechismi, 178 

Practical application, biblical cate- 
chesis, 220; of catechism, 121; 
"lesson unit", 132; step of, 181 

Practice, and child, 87; and prayer, 
262; of religion, in personal 
experience, 212-13 

Practice teaching, 74 

Prayer, act of, and prayer, 251 ; in 
catechism, 148; and child, 83-4; 
in common, 286; in family, 101 ; 
kinds of, 241-2; in teaching 
plan, 162-3; terminology, 241, 
treatment of, 261-70 

Prayerbook, Diocesan, and liturgy, 

Preface, of Mass, and Trinity, 392 

Premiere communion, in France, 38 

Preparation, for baptism, 5, 7; for 
First Communion, 319-21; for 
First Confession, 304-9; for 
Confirmation, 344-5; in active 
school, 200; a formal step, 180-5 

Presence, of God, 260-1, 265 

Presentation, biblical catechesis, 
218; of faith in catechism, 141; 



personal experience, 212-14; 
active school, 201-2; formal 
steps, 180-5, 190; visual aids for, 

Priest, small children, 288; as 
catechist, 247-8; see also Cate- 
chists, Clergy 

Private schools, and instruction, in 
France, 38 ; in Italy, 50 

Prizes, and school leaving, 354 

Probation, for Baptism, in anti- 
quity, 2, 10 

Problems, of youth, 253, 362-3; 
on secondary level, 368-9 

Products, of schools in M. A., 12 

Profession of faith, and Com- 
mandments, 310; in creed, 

Projection rooms, 227-8 

Projector, for pictures, 227-8 

Protestantism, and Apostles' Creed, 
377-9; and revelation, 249 

Prototype, of catechist, 71 ; see also 

Providence, examples of, 260; of 
God, in prayer, 265; notion of, 
in catechesis, 240-1 

Provido sane, 52 

Psalmos Discere, in M. A., 107 

Psalms, in Antiquity, 3; in Bible 
History, 109 

Psyche, of children, 79; and God, 

Psychology, adolescence, 89 ; teach- 
ing catechesis, 179-80; in 
catechism, 123-4. 128-9; and 
child, 79; for Drinkwater, 56-9; 
and education, 95 ; and religious 
instructions, 32 ; secondary level, 
375-6; and teaching plans, 
156-7; at ten, 87; see also Con- 
ciseness, principle of personal 
experience, Child psychology 

Puberty, and secondary level, 
368-9; and trade school, 364-5 

Public school, see State school 

Punishment, in catechesis, 282-3 
see also Discipline 

Purpose of Amendment, see Reso- 

Qualifications, for sponsors, 12 
Quam singulari, Pope St. Pius X, 
55, 290-1 ; translation, 296 ques- 
tioning, age of, 81 
Questions, in adolescence, 90; in 
active school, 196-7, 201-2; in 
Baltimore catechism, 134; Boy er 
and Quinet, 129; in catechesis, 
176-7; in M. A. catechesis, 14; 
and catechism, 133; Challoner, 
53-5 ; in Einheitskatechismus, 1 22 ; 
in England, 135; kinds of, 
201-2; "lesson unit" kind, 133; 
memory work, 277; in Over- 
berg, 29; qualities of, 202; in 
Reformation, 26; retention of, 
126; in Sower Scheme, 62, 63; 
in Winter, 28; work-book, 
272-3; of youth, in trade school, 

Rationalism, era of, 27; in cate- 
chesis, 239 

Reality, and child, 86; in personal 
experience, 212-13 

Reason, age of, for Communion, 
293, 298-300; for Confession, 
302-5; and faith, 251; and 
revelation, 96 

Recapitulation, see "Deepening" 

Recitation, of Creed, in antiquity, 
5, 7, 10 

Recollection, see Day of recollection 

Record, class, 173 

Redemption, catechism, 123-4; and 
child, 85, 97; concentration, 
172-3; First Confession, 307-8; 
in Creed, 146-7, 381-4; in 
Bible history, method, 217-21; 
history of, in kerygma, 394; his- 
tory of, in M. A., 11; in keryg- 



ma, 389; on secondary level, 
370-1; in pictures, 224-5; in 
teaching plan, 159; 

Reflection, and Brothers, 172-3 

Reform, Tridentine, and catechesis, 
19-21 ; catechetical, inEngland,55 

Religion Book, for primary grades, 

Religion booklet, see Booklet, re- 

Religious, see Orders 

Religious instruction, and cate- 
chesis, xii-xiii; First Confession, 
301-6, 307-8, 319-20, 327, 328; 
frequency, 152; historically, 17, 
26,28; pastoral hour, 279-80; 
in kindergarten, 286-7; school 
leaving, 355; passivity of pupil, 
195; personal experience, 206; 
postgraduate, 360-1 ; on second- 
ary level, 367-9 ; structure of, 190 

Renunciation, of Satan, 8, 10, First 
Communion, 326-7 

Repetition, personal experience, 
215; immanent, 158; and me- 
mory work, 277; in progressive 
method, 157; through prayer, 
265-6; visual aids for, 230 

Resolution, for Confession, 309-11, 

Resurrection, our, and Christ, 
144-5; Apostles' Creed, 379, 
384; and kerygma, 389 

Retreat (s), and catechesis, 93; and 
late First Communion, 317-8; 
and kerygma, 394; and school 
leavers, 356-7; see Spiritual 
Exercises revelation, in cate- 
chism, 141; and faith, 255; and 
Bible history, 103; and need, 
255 ; proof for, 249 ; and reason, 
96 ; secondary level, 370-1 ; and 
theology, 96 

Reverence, for Communion, 292, 
294; for First Communion, 
324-5; in language, 237 

Review, in subject matter, 198-9 

Revision, of Baltimore Catechism, 

Rewards, for work, 283 

Rhymes, nursery, and child, 83-4 

Rhythm, in catechism language, 

Robe, baptismal, and neophyte, 7 

Roll film, visual aid, 228 

Roman Catechism, see Catechismus 

Romanticism, and personal ex- 
perience, 205 

Rosary, Living, 267, footnote 

Sacramental Discipline, S. Con- 
gregation, 328 

"Sacramental grading", 162 

Sacraments, instruction on, in 
antiquity, 5, 7; Canon Law, 
290-1 ; Christ-centredness, 145 to 
6; in Apostles' Creed, 384; "les- 
son unit" catechism, 131-2; in 
M. A., 15f; in teaching plan, 
159, 163; in Reform, 24; St. Tho- 
mas, 147 

Sacred Heart, and kerygma, 395 

Sacrifice, and the Mass, 331-3; 
purpose of, 335 

"Sacrificial" meal, and Holy Com- 
munion, 322 

Saganer Catechismus, 182 

Saints, community of, and Church, 

Salle de catechisme, 209 

Salt, and Baptism, 4, 8 

Salvation, and First Confession, 
307; personal, 171 

Scheme, The Sower, content of, 
58-60; of Drinkwater, 48; ef- 
fects of, 60; in England, 155, 
406-7; origin of, 57 

Scholasticism, and Hirscher, 30; 
see Theology 

School Bible, "lesson unit" cate- 
chism, 131-2; official character, 



161; for children, 108-9; and 
faith, 248; method for, 217-21; 
in teaching plan, 159-60 
"School-leaving", age, 77; in Eng- 
land, 91; notes on, 354-8 
School system, and Canon Law, 
51-2; in England, 54; in Italy, 
50; methods of, 46-7; and 
teaching plan, 153-6; size, 41; 
in U. S. A., 40-1 69 
"School theology", and kerygmatic 

kind, 400-1 
Schools, Carolingian, 12; first 
Confession, 307-9; kinds of, 
in M. A., 12; for lay teachers, 
69-70; types of, 152-4; see 
others by name 
Science, and revelation, 260-1 
Scripture, Sacred, in catechism, 
127; in religious instruction, 97; 
in kerygma, 396-7; "lesson 
unit", 129; Quinet and Boyer, 
129; secondary level, 271-2, 
374; in Sower Scheme, 59, 62; 
in teaching plan, 159-60 
Seat-work, in school, 204 
Secondary grammar schools, 153 
Secondary schools, aim of, 366; 
means of, 367-9; and gradu- 
ation, 369-70; teaching of, 
Secret, discipline of, in antiquity, 

5, 6, 7 
Secular branches, and teaching, 95 
Self-activity, and hymn, 268-9 
Self-discovery, in teen-ager, 90 
Self-education, and Confession, 

310; secondary level, 374—5 
Sense data, and catechesis, 178-9 
Senses, and knowledge, 179; in 

personal experience, 212-13 
Sentiment, in personal experience, 

208, 210-12 
Septenary, concept of, 80-3 
Sermon(s), : and catechesis, 1; and 
Mass, 336 

Sex education, secondary level, 368, 
374-5; method for, 346-54 

Sex enlightenment, method for, 
346-54; secondary level, 368, 

Sexual development, see Develop- 
ment, sexual 

"Silent activity", in school, 154 

Sincerity, of Confession, 311 

Singing, at Mass, 339-40 ; in school, 

Singing class, for prayer, 268-70 

Sins, capital sins, 302-3; in cate- 
chism, 121, 150-1; and First 
Confession, 305-6; difference in 
sins, 31 4-1 5;see Mortal, venial sins 

Sisterhoods, and teaching, 42, 67 

Sixth commandment, and chastity, 
347 ; and trade school, 364 

Sketch, playlet, 232 

Small children, guidance of, 285 to 

Social education, 197 

Social life, and religion, 259 

"Socratic method", see Gruber, 
30; active school, 201-2; and 
Winter, 28 

Soldiers of Christ, 345 

Songs, for church, see Hymns 

Sorrow, see Contrition 

Sower magazine, Drinkwater, 56-8 
effects of, 60-1, 78; of England, 
48; and liturgy, 102; origin of, 

Sower Scheme, The, see Scheme, 
The Sower 

Special catechesis, 68 

Speech, of catechist, 282-3 ; figures 
of, 243 

Sponsors, for Baptism, 11-12; for 
Confirmation, 12, 345, and 
religious instruction, in M. A., 
10—12; questions and answers, 126 

State schools, Austrian, and prayer, 
261-2; observation tour, 227; 
and religious training, 68 



Statute, diocesan, and teacher 
training, 74 

Steps, adoption of, 191-3 ; Herbart- 
Ziller, 189; formal, in method, 
180-5; and "learn by doing", 
193-4; liturgical catechesis, 
220-1 ; personal experience, 207, 
210-11; secondary schools, 

Still, or slide, visual aid, 229 

Story (stories), and Bible History, 
106, 159; Biblical, N. T., and 
Confession, 321; collections of, 
234-5; happy endings, 241; 
Munich Method, 189 

Structure, of the Mass, 331-3; of 
subject matter, 369-70 

Subject matter, in active school, 
198; secondary schools, 369 

Successive method, 157 

Sufferings, of Christ, and contri- 
tion, 312 

Sui compos , child, 80 

Sunday, and Mass, 336; and small 
child, 286-7 

Sunday School, and adolescence, 
89; in England, 54; in U. S. A., 

Supernatural, in catechism, 146; 
and need for, 254 

Syllabus(es), and Drinkwater, 62-3 ; 
newspapers, 135; trade school, 
361; Westminster, 407; see also 
Teaching plan 

"Symbiosis of subjects", 161 

Symbols, for Christ, 144; work 
book, 273; visual aids, 230-2 

Symholum, Apostles' Creed, 377-83, 

Synods, and religious instruction, 
in M. A., 14 

Synopses, catechism, 116-17 

Synthesis, in method, 117; in 
catechism, 124; in Catechetical 
Movement, 190-1 systematiza- 
tion, of truths, 116-17, 123, 125 

Table of sins, and Commandments, 
310, 311 

Talks to Teenagers, of Drinkwater, 91 

Tatschule, 196 

Teachers, in instruction, 92; and 
CatecheticalMovement, 32, 66-7 
76; in active school, 198-9; 
and trade school, 361-2 

Teaching, and education, 92-7 

Teaching of Religion, of Mac 
Eachen, 48 

Teaching plan, see Plan, teaching 

Teaching the Catechism, of Drink- 
water, 61 

Technical school, "learn by doing" 
194; and trade, 358-61 

Technology, and faith, 395 

Ten Commandments, in catechism 
146-7, 148-9; in basic cate- 
chism, 166-7; in Luther's cate- 
chism, 20; for confession, 309-10 
notion of God, 151 ; and sec- 
ondary level, 373; Francis Xa- 
vier, 252; see Decalogue 

Tenth year, demarcation, 87 

Tests, religious, 278 

"Text-analysis", Munich catechist, 

"Text-developing" and children, 
190; Munich Method, 182-92; 
subject matter, 189; synthesis, 
191; value of, 199-200 

"Text-explanatory" Method, hi- 
storically, 176, 182, 188; litur- 
gical catechesis, 220-221 

Textus receptus, Apostles' Creed, 
381, 384 

Theocentricity, see God-centred- 

Theology, in catechism, 117-8 ; and 
the catechist, 72; and Confir- 
mation, 340-1; and faith, 96; 
and grace, 382-3; and kerygma, 
393-4, 396; kerygmatic branch 
of, 398-405; and matter of 
secondary schools, 370 



Third Baltimore Council, cate- 
chism of, 34-5 
* 'Thought-provoking" , question, 

Time-allotment, for religion, 366-8 
Tour, observation, of Church, 

Trade, learning a, 358-66 
"Trade" school, and Confession, 

Traditio orationis dominicae, 5, 8 
Traditio symboli, see "Handing 

over", 5, 8 
Training, religious, education, 89 

93; in M. A., 11, in prayer, 

261-7; in school life, 359-60; 

trade school, 359 
Tridentine Catechism, Catechismus 

Tridium, school leaving, 356 
Trinitarian formula, and Creed, 

Trinity, in Apostles' Creed, 379-80 

in kerygma, 392 ; knowledge of, 

and First Communion, 299 
Trips, school, active school, 196 
Truths, knowledge of, and First 

Communion, 305 
Twelve and After, of Drinkwater, 91 
Two Ways, 115, 149 

Understanding, in catechetical 
movement, 33; for First Com- 
munion, 318, 323; in second 
septenary, 86 

Understanding, step of 181, 183, 

Uniates, and Communion, 291-2 

Uniform catechism, see Einheits- 

Uniform songs, see Hymns 

Unit, in method U. S. A., 49; 
methodological, 180-5; religion 
series, 130 

Upper grades, and Bible, 374; and 
catechism, 61, 123, 159-60; 

and chastity, 347-8; and Con- 
fession, 313-14; and Bible his- 
tory, 109-10; and Mass, 334-5; 
and trade school, 359 
Ursymbolium, 380-1 
Usages, liturgical, 101 
Use of reason, see Reason 

Values, in catechism, 121; in edu- 
cation, 95; personal experience, 
201-7; for life, 96; in liturgy, 99 
Vatican Council, and R. Bellar- 
mine, 23, 120; and revelation, 
249, 255 
Venial sin, Confession, 307; and 
Easter duty, 299-300, 303; and 
mortal, 314-15 
Vernacular, and instruction, 13; 
and the liturgy, 7, 11 ; in M. A., 
17; and the Mass, 337 
Verse, religious, in Sower Scheme ,59 
Versions, of Creed, 380-5 
Virtues, of chastity, 346-7; early 
in child, 87; infused in educa- 
tion, 92; infused, and St. Augu- 
stine, 4, 171; moral, 92; theo- 
logical, and prayer, 263 
Virtus infusa fidei, 92 
Visit, see Tour observation 
Visual aids, in catechesis, 222-33; 
in M. A., 16; self-activity, 272 
Visual education, teaching plan, 

Visuality, reasons for, 223 
Vocation, and work, 364 
Vocational school, method in, 

358-66; child psychology, 89 
Vocational training, 89, 358-64 
"Voice of God", conscience, 243 
Vows, baptismal, and First Com- 
munion, 326, 327; and school 
leaving, 358 

Wall pictures, see Pictures 
Wanderlust, and adolescence, 90 
White List, music, America, 270 



Will, of God, and chastity, 346; 

and work, 364 
Will Training, 211 footnote 
Women, catechists, in France, 38 
Word of God, Scriptures, 245-6, 

Words, see Language 
Work, nobility of, 363-4 
Work-book, and "lesson unit", 

136; reference to life, 271-2 
World, in adolescence, 90; concept 

of, 259; in education, 95; of 

faith, 93-4; in kerygma, 395; 

real, and child, 84 

World Catechetical Congress, 50-1 
World catechism, 22-3, 120 
World history, and redemption, 

Year, liturgical, in childhood, 84; 
in liturgy, 101 ; in M. A., 17-18 

"Years of discretion", see Anni 

Young Catholic Workers, in Eng- 
land, 91 

Youth groups and environment, 87 

Youth Movement, and assembly 
215; in England, 91; in Ger- 
many, 205